Legendary singer George Michael, a former member of the British musical duo Wham!, died on Christmas Day at the age of 53. The singer's manager confirmed the news earlier today.
"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," Michael's manager Michael Lippman stated to The Hollywood Reporter. "The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage."
The Hollywood Reporter also confirmed that he died of heart failure.
Thames Valley Police responded to a call at the singer's property in Oxfordshire, England around 2 p.m. on Sunday. Authorities don't believe there to be any suspicious circumstances, BBC confirms. Read the full statement below.
"Thames Valley Police were called to a property in Goring-on-Thames shortly before 2 p.m. Christmas Day. Sadly, a 53-year-old man was confirmed deceased at the scene. 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."
Michael, who was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in London, sold more than 100 million records worldwide throughout his career of nearly four decades. In addition to topping the charts with Wham!, the renowned singer was also recognized for his 1987 debut solo album, Faith, which sold more than 20 million copies. Michael also garnered number one singles in the UK and on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S., with hits like "Careless Whisper," "A Different Corner," and "FastLove."
The icon also earned numerous honors, including three American Music Awards, two Grammys, and several MTV Video Music Awards. Earlier this month, Michael announced that he and producer-songwriter Naughty Boy were working together on a new album. However, it's unclear whether that album was ever completed.
In light of the sad news, many fans and friends took to Twitter to join in their grief for the music industry's tremendous loss. Nile Rodgers and Mark Ronson were some of the first stars to express their sorrows on Twitter. After Ronson stated that "a lot of us owe him an unpayable debt," Rodgers responded to the "crazy" news, revealing that he had just visited the singer at his house on Dec. 23. Victoria Justice also commented on his death saying, "I can't believe George Michael has died. One of my favorite singers... gone too young #RIP." Ellen DeGeneres followed, sharing her thoughts on the social platform as well. "I just heard about my friend @GeorgeMichael's death. He was such a brilliant talent. I'm so sad. Countless other fans also mentioned how shitty this year was in terms of the legends we've lost," she tweeted.
The Recording Academy's president and CEO Neil Portnow released a statement which you can also read below:
2016 has truly been one of the most devastating years so far. Over the course of twelve months, the world has lost icons such as David Bowie and Prince. And stepping outside of the music industry, we've also had to say goodbye to Muhammad Ali, Florence Henderson, and most recently, Alan Thicke. May they all rest in peace.