LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Singer-songwriter George Michael died Sunday at the age of 53, his publicist confirmed.
He passed away at his home in London, England, according to Entertainment Tonight.
“It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully,” a statement from his publicist Connie Filippello read. “The family would ask their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage.”
His manager, Michael Lippman, told The Associated Press that Michael died of heart failure. Thames Valley police issued the following statement to ET.
“At this stage the death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious. A post mortem will be undertaken in due course. There will be no further updates from Thames Valley Police until the post mortem has taken place.”
A co-star of the pop duo Wham! and later a solo artist, Michael was best known for hits such as “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” “Careless Whisper” and “Everything She Wants.” His popular solo songs included “Faith” and “I Want Your Sex.”
Former KROC-FM disc jockey Richard Blade, who now hosts an ‘80s music show on Sirius Satellite Radio, met Michael and Andrew Ridgeley when Wham! made its first trip to the U.S.
“I first met George Michael when I was doing a TV show on Channel 9 called MB3,” Blade said. “At the time, MTV wouldn’t play them and they couldn’t get played on the radio outside of KROC, and they came in for their first ever American TV interview.”
Later Blade says he took them to a music club in Santa Monica, where they performed a couple of their songs.
“And that was Wham’s first ever performance in North America,” Blade said. “And they had so much fun they did it the next night in Westwood at Dillon’s. And I became friends with George ever since.”
GALLERY: George Michael Through The Years
The Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow issued the following statement about the two-time GRAMMY Award recipient.
“We are deeply saddened,” Portnow said. “During an influential career that spanned nearly four decades, George became one of the most beloved pop craftsmen and respected entertainers. From the enormous success he achieved with pop due Wham! to his influential solo career, his extraordinary talent had a profound impact on countless entertainers worldwide, and his creative contributions will live on forever.”
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