George Michael: Pop superstar died heart failure of at 53

FILE- In this June 25, 2008, file photo, singer George Michael performs during his "Live Global Tour" concert in Inglewood, Calif. Michael, who rocketed to stardom with WHAM! and went on to enjoy a long and celebrated solo career lined with controversies, has died, his publicist said Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016. He was 53. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

The star, who launched his career with Wham! in the 1980s and had huge success as a solo performer, “passed away peacefully” on Christmas Day in Goring, Oxfordshire, his publicist said.

His manager, Michael Lippman, said he had died of heart failure.  Former Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley said he was “heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend”. Writing on Twitter and referring to Michael by his family nickname of “Yog”, he added: “Me, his loved ones, his friends, the world of music, the world at large. 4ever loved. A xx” Michael’s family announced news of his death in a statement issued through the singer’s publicist. “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,” it said. “The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage.”

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