Iconic British singer George Michael, who sold more than 100 million albums in his career, died on Sunday at the age of 53. He was an international pop icon in the 1980s.
He first found stardom with Wham!, the group that he formed with Andrew Ridgeley. Several hits such as “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “Careless Whisper” are credited to him.
Confirming the news of his death, his 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 their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage.”
Several incidents in his personal life overshadowed his musical career in his later years. One of the biggest ones was in 1998 when Michael came out as gay after being arrested for committing a lewd act in a public toilet of a Los Angeles park.
In an interview with CNN later in the same week, he said that he wasn’t ashamed but felt stupid, reckless and weak for having allowed his sexuality to be exposed in the manner that it was. “I want to say that I have no problem with people knowing that I’m in a relationship with a man right now. I have not been in a relationship with a woman for almost 10 years.”
He was sentenced to eight weeks in jail in 2010 after crashing he crashed his car into a London shop while under the influence of cannabis and prescription medication.
He had been out of the spotlight for several years, after a life-threatening bout of pneumonia in 2011. His health remained a concern even later in 2013 when he had to be airlifted to a hospital after he fell out of his chauffeur-driven Range Rover as it travelled at high speed on a motorway.