POP icon George Michael has passed away peacefully in his sleep age 53.

The singer rose to fame in the 80s as one half of the pop duo Wham! before he embarked on a successful solo career. His debut solo album sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.

His publicist confirmed his death in a 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 publicist said in the statement.

“The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage.”

BBC reported that Oxfordshire police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.

Michael struggled with his sexuality throughout his career, and identified as bisexual for many years. He was outed in 1998 after he was arrested in a Beverly Hills public toilet “engaging in a lewd act”.

After Michael’s arrest, he became open about his sexuality including his long-term relationship with Kenny Goss. He also dated Brazilian designer Anselmo Feleppa in the 90s.

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