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Singer George Michael dies at home of heart failure

Singer and songwriter George Michael has died from heart failure at the age of 53.

Michael – who was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou – died at his home in Oxfordshire.

He soared to fame as one half of the pop group Wham! with schoolfriend Andrew Ridgeley.

He  sold more than 100m albums and had 11 number one hits with songs such as Last Christmas, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go and Careless Whisper.

Ridgley said he was “heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend”. Sir Elton John said: “I have lost a beloved friend”.

Michael was known for his generosity, donating £15,000 to a woman who said on TV’s Deal or No Deal that she needed the money for IVF treatment. He and Ridgeley donated the royalties from Last Christmas to Band Aid.

But his career was also plagued with brushes with the law, including an arrest for lewd behaviour in the US. That episode led him to acknowledge his homosexuality and his relationship with Kenny Goss.

His death is the latest in a sad roll-call of leading pop figures who have passed away in 2016, including David Bowie, Prince, Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Leonard Cohen. Rick Parfitt, guitarist with Status Quo, died on Christmas Eve, aged 68 in Spain.

Parfitt died in hospital from a severe infection following complications to a shoulder injury.

Parfitt’s partnership with Francis Rossi was one of the most enduring in pop music history, spanning five decades.

He was planning a solo career with an album and autobiography planned for next year.

He underwent a quadruple heart bypass in 1997 but suffered a heart attack in the summer.

 



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