George Michael passes away at 53 years of age

Details are sparse, but it’s being widely reported by the BBC and other news agencies that legendary pop singer George Michael passed away on Sunday (Christmas day) at the age of 53. Police are not investigating his death as suspicious and it’s being said that he “passed away peacefully at home.” His publicist issued the following 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. The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage.

Update 9:39 p.m. ET: Michael’s management told the AP that he died of “heart failure.”

While Michael (born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou) had a brush with death when he fell ill with pneumonia in 2011, he eventually made a recovery. It was reported less than two weeks ago that he was working on a new album with Naughty Boy producing.

Initially gaining popularity with Andrew Ridgeley as Wham, Michael branched out slowly with various solo singles like “Carless Whisper,” best known for its now legendary saxophone track. In 1987, he went out on his own permanently with “Faith,” becoming one of the world’s biggest pop stars in the process.

If you need something to cry to, here’s George Michael singing “Somebody to Love” with Queen at the 1992’s Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in a packed Wembley Stadium:

We will have more on this story as it becomes available.

Update 7:00 p.m. ET: Elton John posted this on his Instagram:

[Photo: Getty]