It's being reported that singer George Michael has died at the age of 53. The artist, who came to fame with the pop group Wham! and went on to build an even bigger name for himself as a solo artist is said to have passed away in his home.
BBC is reporting the news, citing George Michael's publicist, who provided a statement confirming the artist's death:
It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period.The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage
No details about the cause of death were provided, only that he died peacefully in his home in Goring, in the county of Oxfordshire in the U.K.
It doesn't sound like there were any suspicious circumstances surrounding the artist's death. Still, given that he was only in his early fifties, this news comes as a shock. Back in 2011, George Michael was reportedly suffered major health issues due to pneumonia, which put him in the hospital. Much more recently, from what was announced in a news release on his website, as of November of 2016, he was finishing up a documentary called Freedom, which was being lined up to release in March of 2017.
Born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, George Michael formed the band Wham! in 1981. Some of their U.S. hits included Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," "Last Christmas" and "Freedom." He's also the singer of "Careless Whisper,"and was one of the performers in Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas." George Michael's last album was Symphonica, with was released in 2014 and featured mostly live versions of his 2011-2012 tour.
To put it bluntly, it's been a crappy year for celebrity deaths. 2016 saw the deaths of David Bowie and Prince, among too many other names of talented artists to list. Our hearts go out to George Michael's friends and family in their time of loss. He will surely be remembered for the mark he made on music and pop culture.
I'll close this out with one of my favorite George Michael performances. Here he is singing Queen's "Somebody To Love."