Written by Leah Bennett
Just when we thought 2016 could claim no more, on the last week of the year, George Michael has sadly died on Christmas Day.
The 53-year-old British pop star’s death is suspected to be due to heart failure and although nothing has yet been confirmed the police are treating his death as “unexplained but not suspicious.”
His publicist Cindi Berger claimed that the star had not been ill and his manager Michael Lippman re-enforced the claim that the cause of his death was heart failure.
Michael’s family made this statement: “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.”
Tributes have been paid to the British sensation from Sir Elton John who posted a photograph of himself and Michael on Instagram, writing: “I am in deep shock. I have lost a beloved friend – the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist. My heart goes out to his family and all of his fans.”
Michael’s former Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley said he was “heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend Yog“, a nickname which refers to “Yours Only George“.
He said: “Me, his loved ones, his friends, the world of music, the world at large. 4ever loved. A xx”
In 1981, Michael (who was once a busker) teamed up with Andrew Ridgeley to form one of the UK’s most notorious band of the 80’s, Wham! With their bountiful blow dried hair and cheesy smiles, the band went on to be a massive success, with hits like Last Christmas and Wake me up Before you Go Go.
After the band spilt however, Michael did have a successful solo career. He released Careless Whisper shortly before the band broke up and it became to be one of his best-known songs. Critics had hounded Wham! for creating catchy songs with little substance but through his solo career, Michael did indeed prove that his musical talent wasn’t as limited as some thought.
His first solo album, 1987’s Faith, sold more 20 million copies and he created many more top singles like the provocative I Want Your Sex. This song was helped undeniably by a risky video that received wide air play on MTV.
In 2011, Michael nearly died from pneumonia, but after receiving treatment in a Vienna hospital, and having a tracheotomy to keep his airways open, the star made a healthy recovery. He made a heartfelt appearance outside his London home and told fans that it had been “touch and go” as to whether he lived or not. Fans hoped that after this Michael would get himself in order as he had been involved in many drug related incidents in the years beforehand.
However you choose to remember George Michael, as a bouncy haired heart throb, a sex icon or a 80’s sensation, one thing that is undeniable is his influence and input on music and it will not be forgotten.
Listen to Last Christmas below: