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‘Careless Whisper’ Singer George Michael Dies ‘Peacefully’ at 53

Police say there were no suspicious circumstances.

Updated
Entertainment
2 min read
The star, who launched his career with Wham! in the 1980s and later continued his success as a solo performer, is said to have “passed away peacefully at home”. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/georgemichael/photos/a.215555826094.164948.11546961094/10154465910381095/?type=3&amp;theater#">@georgemichael</a>)

Pop singer George Michael, who had numerous hits in the group Wham! in the 1980s and later as a solo artist, died at the age of 53, the BBC reported on Sunday citing his publicist.

Michael is said to have "passed away peacefully at home," the BBC reported, adding that police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the singer's death.

It is with great sadness that we 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

British police said Michael's death was "unexplained, but not suspicious."

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Playing in the London Underground Before Wham!

Born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou on 25 June 1963 in London to Greek Cypriot immigrant parents in a flat above a north London laundrette, Michael once played music on the London underground train system before finding fame with Wham!.

With a school friend, Andrew Ridgeley, he formed Wham! in 1981, a partnership that would produce some of the most memorable pop songs and dance-floor favourites of the 1980s.

In the mid-1980s, Wham! was one of the most successful pop duos ever, ahead even of Simon & Garfunkel, with singles like Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Careless Whisper, Last Christmas and The Edge of Heaven.

"“No way could I have done it without Andrew," Michael once said.

I can’t think of anybody who would have been so perfect in allowing something which started out as a very naive, joint ambition, to become what was still a huge double act but what was really... mine.

But he was keen to reach beyond Wham!'s teenage audience and to experiment with other genres. Wham! announced their split in 1986.

A pilot solo single “"I Want Your Sex" was banned by daytime radio stations, but was one of his biggest hits.

Brushes With the Law

Questions about his sexuality were raised when he was arrested in 1998 for "engaging in a lewd act" in a public restroom of the Will Rogers Memorial Park in Beverly Hills, California.

I feel stupid and reckless and weak for letting my sexuality be exposed that way. But I do not feel shame [about my sexuality], neither do I think I should. I can try to fathom why I did what I did, but at the end of the day, I have to admit that maybe part of the kick was that I might get found out
George told CNN

Though he had relationships with women and once told family members that he was bisexual, Michael, then 34, said he was gay.

Michael's death comes at the end of a year that has seen the passing of several music superstars, including David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen. Rick Parfitt, the guitarist of British rock group Status Quo, died on Saturday at 68.

(With inputs form Reuters and BBC.)

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