Singer George Michael Has Died at 53

by
Share This:

2016 has claimed yet another music legend as George Michael was found dead today (Dec. 25) at 53. The singer began his hitmaking career in the musical duo Wham! with a school friend, Andrew Ridgely, in 1981 and went on to have significant success on his own. His publicist said he “passed away peacefully at home” in Goring, Oxfordshire, England.

The Hollywood Reporter has since noted that Michael died of heart failure, according to his manager Michael Lippman.

Michael earned eight #1 U.S. pop hits in his career. His album Faith has sold a reported 25 million copies worldwide.

Related: Fellow performers offer tribute upon Michael’s passing

Michael was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou on June 25, 1963 in London to a Greek father and English mother. He teamed with Ridgely to form Wham as a teenager and at 20 their first album, Fantastic, hit #1 in the U.K. Their 1984 follow-up, Make It Big, lived up to its title and then some, with four gigantic singles, three of which were #1 U.S. chart hits. Those were “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” “Careless Whisper” and “Everything She Wants.” The album’s fourth single, “Freedom,” reached #3. Wham! released just one more studio album, 1986’s Music From the Edge of Heaven.

At the height of their success as a duo, Michael and Ridgely performed with Elton John at 1985’s Live Aid, singing “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”…

On an Instagram post today, Elton John wrote: “I am in deep shock. I have lost a beloved friend – the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist.”

Related: 2016 in Review… saying farewell to so many

In an unsigned announcement from Sony Music, the label group stated: “George Michael was a supremely gifted artist and a true music icon. Sony Music had the privilege to have worked with him over several decades on a number of his legendary releases, and we join the world in mourning the loss of a great superstar. Our condolences go out to his family during this difficult time.”

Wham! broke up in 1986. One year later, Michael’s solo debut, Faith, took him to an even higher level of success, becoming 1988’s top-selling album and earning the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. It’s six singles included another four U.S. #1 chart hits: the title cut (Billboard‘s #1 single of 1988), “Father Figure,” “One More Try” and “Monkey.” Two other songs were also huge successes: “I Want Your Sex” and “Kissing a Fool.”

In his career, Michael has sold a reported 100 million records. He publicly came out as gay in 1998 after he was arrested for lewd conduct at a men’s room in a Beverly Hills, CA park.

Michael was expecting to have a busy 2017. A November 2, 2016 Facebook post indicated: “George Michael is busy putting the finishing touches to his special documentary film ‘Freedom’.

“He has discovered some incredible, unseen archive footage and is shooting additional interviews for the project so the film will now air in March 2017.

“It promises to be a real treat for fans! To coincide with the film’s broadcast, George and Sony Music have decided to move the reissue of the Listen Without Prejudice album to the same time.”

Best Classic Bands Staff

Best Classic Bands Staff

The BCB team brings you the latest Breaking News, Contests, On This Day rock history stories, Classic Videos, retro-Charts and more.
Best Classic Bands Staff
Share This:

No Comments so far

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.

Your data will be safe!Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person.