George Michael (1963 - 2016)
By: Legacy Staff
2 years ago
George Michael, the English pop singer who sold more than 100 million albums and was an inspirational icon for a generation of gay youth who came of age in the 1990s, has died at the age of 53, according to multiple news sources.
The BBC reported that Thames Valley Police confirmed that an ambulance call in Oxfordshire, England, attended to Michael’s death Sunday afternoon, and that there were no suspicious circumstances.
In a statement, the star's publicist said: "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."
Michael’s stardom began in the 1980s alongside collaborator Andrew Ridgeley in the pop duo Wham! The duo's No. 1 charting album “Make It Big” spawned hits like “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “Careless Whisper.”
Michael went solo with the 1987 album “Faith,” whose title track hit No. 1 in the United States and became one of his most enduring songs. It was only one of several iconic hits from that record, including the provocative “I Want Your Sex,” censored on many stations for its suggestive lyrics, and the soulful “Father Figure.”
His 1990 follow-up album, “Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1,” spawned another international hit, “Freedom ’90,” whose video starred a posse of top supermodels instead of Michael himself.
Michael famously came out as a gay man in 1998 after being arrested in Beverly Hills for public lewdness. The singer embraced the opportunity to be forthright about his sexuality rather than being shamed by the arrest – and that boldness made an impact on his audience. In the wake of Michael’s death, numerous fans took to social media to state that the star’s unapologetic gay identity was a powerful source of inspiration in their lives.
Though his stardom in the U.S. through the 2000s waned in comparison to his continued prominence in the U.K., Michael remained a well-noted figure in pop culture. Michael Cera’s character in the cult-favorite sitcom “Arrested Development” shares George Michael’s name, and earlier this year, the comedy duo of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele paid loving tribute to the singer in their big-screen debut, “Keanu.”
Earlier this month, it was announced that producer-songwriter Naughty Boy was working with the singer on a new album.
Singer Elton John paid tribute to his friend on social media.
“I am in deep shock," John wrote. "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.”
Producer Mark Ronson said, “Other than a global pop phenom, George Michael was one of the true British soul greats. alot of us owe him an unpayable debt. bye George xx”
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