Singer George Michael has died aged 53, his publicist has said.
The star, who launched his career with Wham! in the 1980s and later continued his success as a solo performer, is said to have “passed away peacefully at home”.
Thames Valley Police said South Central Ambulance Service attended a property in Goring in Oxfordshire at 13:42 GMT.
Police say they were treating the death as unexplained but there were no suspicious circumstances.
In a statement, the star’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. There will be no further comment at this stage.”
On Instagram, Sir Elton John posted a photograph of himself with Michael, writing: “I am in deep shock. 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.”
Thames Valley Police said: “At this stage the death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious. “A post-mortem will be undertaken in due course. There will be no further updates from Thames Valley Police until the post-mortem has taken place.”
Treatment for pneumonia
Michael, who was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in north London, sold more than 100m albums throughout a career spanning almost four decades.
He first found fame with his schoolfriend Andrew Ridgeley in duo Wham! before going on to release solo albums, including the multi-million selling Faith and follow-up Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1. It outsold Faith in the UK but led to Michael losing a court case with record label Sony over his frustration over how the album has been marketed.
His talents as a singer, songwriter and music producer made George Michael one of the world’s biggest-selling artists. Blessed with good looks and a fine singing voice, his stage presence made him a favourite on the live concert circuit as he matured from teen idol to long term stardom.
Michael scored seven number one singles in the UK with songs including Careless Whisper and Faith, and won three Brit Awards and two Grammys.
Pop stars from Michael’s heyday were joined by more contemporary names in paying tribute on Twitter.
Duran Duran referred to the the so-called “curse of 2016” – following the deaths of David Bowie, Prince and Rick Parfitt – posting on their official Twitter account: “2016 – loss of another talented soul. All our love and sympathy to @GeorgeMichael’s family.”
Fellow pop star La Roux wrote: “Another one gone…. What a voice, what a songwriter.”
George Michael’s UK number one singles:
Wake Me Up Before You Go Go (with Wham!) – 1984
Freedom (with Wham!) – 1984
Careless Whisper – 1984
I’m Your Man (with Wham!) – 1985
The Edge of Heaven (with Wham!) – 1986
A Different Corner – 1986
I Knew You Were Waiting For Me (with Aretha Franklin) – 1987
Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (with Elton John) – 1991
Five Live EP (with Queen and Lisa Stansfield) – 1993
Jesus To A Child – 1996
Fastlove – 1996
Source: BBC News