Pop superstar George Michael dies of suspected heart failure aged 53

British singer George Michael performs on stage during his "Symphonica" tour concert in Vienna September 4, 2012. George Michael hailed the Vienna medical team that brought him back from the brink of death last year as he prepared to resume his tour interrupted for months by a severe lung infection. The former Wham! frontman, who went on to pursue a successful solo career, fell ill in the Austrian capital in November and was diagnosed with severe pneumonia. He spent a month in Vienna's General Hospital under intensive care. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader (AUSTRIA - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - RTR37HE2

Pop superstar George Michael has died of suspected heart failure at the age of 53.

Michael, who shot to fame as the front man of Wham! in the 1980s, died peacefully at his home in Oxfordshire, his publicist said.

His manager Michael Lippman said the cause of his death was heart failure, according to the Associated Press.

Thames Valley Police said officers were called to a property in Goring-on-Thames shortly before 2pm on Christmas Day.

The force said: “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.”

Michael’s 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 that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time.”

Michael – whose real name was Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou – had hits including Club Tropicana and Last Christmas as a part of Wham!

He sold more than 100 million albums throughout a career spanning almost four decades.

People reacted with shock on social media, with his former Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley leading tributes.

He tweeted: “Heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend Yog. Me, his loved ones, his friends, the world of music, the world at large. 4ever loved. A xx”

Sir Elton John said he was “in deep shock” at Michael’s death.

The pair famously collaborated on a rendition of Elton’s classic Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me, released in 1992.

George Michael performs on stage in 2011
Image Caption:Michael on stage in 2011

Writing on Instagram, Sir Elton said: “I have lost a beloved friend – the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist.

“My heart goes out to his family and all of his fans.”

“All our love and sympathy to @GeorgeMichael’s family.”

As well as being known for his musical talent, Michael had a turbulent personal life, and brushes with the law and tales of drug use saw him hit the headlines.

Michael nearly died from pneumonia in late 2011.

He received treatment in a Vienna hospital, after which he made a tearful appearance outside his London home and said it had been “touch and go” whether he lived.

Surgeons had performed a tracheotomy to keep his airways open and he was unconscious for some of his time in hospital.

Michael’s 1990 album Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 had been set to be reissued.

It was due to be accompanied by a new film featuring Stevie Wonder, Elton John and the supermodels who starred in the video to his hit single Freedom! ’90.

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