Artist plagued by drugs and a complicated love life, British singer George Michael, singer of hits “Faith” and “Careless Whisper” has died of unknown causes at his London home at the age of 53 years .
“It is with great sadness that we confirm that our son, brother and friend George died in peace at his home at Christmas,” the singer’s agent said in a statement on Sunday evening without further details.
Teen idol in the 1980s with Wham !, duo then became a global superstar solo singer died at his home in Goring, west of London, according to the BBC . His death is not considered suspicious by the British police, alerted shortly before 14:00 GMT on Sunday.
“At this point, death is treated as unexplained but not suspicious. An autopsy will be conducted on time,” said the Police .
The tributes to the singer, coming from unknowns and celebrities, flooded on the social networks.
“I am deeply shocked I lost a dear friend. – The most kind and generous, and a brilliant artist My thoughts are with his family and to all his fans.” Responded the British singer Elton John on Instagram.
Canadian rockstar Bryan Adams commented on Twitter : “RIP George Michael I can not believe an incredible singer and a lovely man, too young to leave us…”
“You gave the world an incredible gift, what talent, what a loss!” Tweeted the American singer La Toya Jackson.
Several messages of condolences evoked the other dead stars of the missing song this year, including David Bowie in January, Prince late April, and the Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt, died Sunday.
“Farewell my friend! Another great artist leaves us. Is this that in 2016 can go fuck NOW?”, Has published Madonna on Instagram .
“2016 – loss of another talented soul, all our love and compassion to the family of George Michael,” also wrote Duran Duran, a contemporary of Wham !, on his official account.
“No, not George Michael, another great musician leaves us this year, 2016 can be seen,” said former international footballer Gary Lineker.
– Glory and disappointments –
In his real name Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, he had survived pneumonia at the end of 2011. His condition required intensive care because of the severity of the pneumococcal infection he contracted.
“It was literally the worst month of my life, but I have an amazing, incredible chance to be here,” he said after his hospitalization.
Back in recent years, George Michael was preparing an album with the British producer Naughty Boy. The pop star, son of a Greek Cypriot father and an English mother, was also expected to release an autobiographical documentary in 2017.
The popularity of the singer had declined in the 1990s, but it had returned in 2004 with the album “Patience”, which occupied the first place of sales in the United Kingdom.
The singer of “Club Tropicana”, “Last Christmas”, “Careless Whisper” and “Faith” has experienced various setbacks related to drugs (cannabis and crack) and alcohol in the past. He especially spent four weeks in jail in 2010 after being stamped with his Range Rover , a shop in North London, under the influence of cannabis and drugs.
Three years earlier, he was found collapsed in his Mercedes and admitted having used drugs , but had escaped jail by performing 100 hours of community service. He had been banned from driving for two years.
– ‘Tragic character’ –
Born June 25, 1963 in London , the British began his career in 1981 with the band Wham! alongside his Andrew Ridgeley school friend, with whom he became the darling of teenagers .
Appearance neat, permanent tan, hairy puffy hair and hedonistic image, Wham! Captured the spirit of the time, quickly becoming one of the biggest British bands, with hits like “Tropicana Club” and “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”.
Success became planetary and in 1985, Wham! was the first Western group to perform in China .
After four singles ranked number one in Britain , Wham! Implosa in 1986 and George Michael began solo, targeting a more adult audience.
It sold a total of over 100 million records in the world , 20 million of his first solo album “Faith” (1987), and held several times the head of the charts.
His latest solo album, Symphonica, released in 2014, went gold in the UK .
After years of speculation about his sexuality, George Michael had publicly revealed his homosexuality in 1998 after being arrested for attack on modesty in a public toilet in Los Angeles ( USA ). He later explained that he did not want to talk about it as long as his mother was alive.
“People want to see me as a tragic figure, with these relationships sex in public toilets and taking drugs,” but “I can not even see it as a weakness. That’s just what I am,” déclarait- He told the British daily Guardian in 2009.