The legendary pop star and gay icon, who launched his career with Wham! in the 1980s and continued his success as a solo performer, passed away peacefully at his home in Goring, Oxfordshire on Christmas Day. Michael’s manager, Michael Lippman, says the cause of death was heart failure, as reported by AP.
Having sold more than 100 million albums throughout a career spanning almost four decades, Michael became one of the world’s biggest-selling artists.
On Twitter, his former Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley said he was “heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend.”
The pop superstar split from Texas art dealer Kenny Goss in 2009 after 13 years.
The loss of Michael continues a year of grief in the music industry, with David Bowie, Prince and Glenn Frey among those dying before age 70.