British pop singer George Michael, who rose to fame with the band Wham! and sold more than 100 million albums in his career, has died aged 53, his publicist said.
"It is with great sadness that we can confirm that our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period," his publicist said in a statement.
Michael, according to reports, died at his home in Goring, England. His publicist, Cindi Berger, said he had not been ill. Michael's manager, Michael Lippman, says the cause of death was heart failure.
The family also asked that their privacy be respected at "this difficult and emotional time".
Prior to Lippman's announcement, the police issued a statement calling the death "unexplained but not suspicious" and that "a post mortem will be undertaken in due course", an international news agency reports.
George Michael, one of the giants of '80s and '90s music, enjoyed immense popularity from the beginning with hits including Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Young Guns (Go For It) and Freedom.
As a solo artiste, Michael built himself as a more serious singer and songwriter, who was admired by critics for his powerful vocals and expressive range.
Geroge Michael sold well over 100 million albums globally, earned numerous Grammy and American Music Awards, and recorded duets with Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Luciano Pavarotti and Elton John, among others.
In 2004, Radio Academy named Michael the most played artiste on British radio between the period of 1984-2004.