The death of one of Britain’s biggest popstar of the 80’s and 90’s, George Michael prompted legends Andrew Ridgeley and Sir Elton John pay their tributes. The singer passed away peacefully at his home in Oxfordshire at the age of 53.
He tasted his first musical success with pop duo Wham!, then as a solo artist. His former Wham! bandmate also chose Twitter to say that he was “heartbroken by the loss of my friend” who would be “4ever loved”. Michael died of from heart failure in bed.
Throughout an illustrious career spanning almost four decades, George Michael sold more than 100 millions albums. His first stint as a duo in Wham! with schoolfriend Ridgeley reached number one in UK singles charts on four occasions. Followed by a string of other chart toppers, featuring Michael, the world saw the release of the multi-million selling Faith in 1987.
The follow-up to Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 outsold Faith in the UK but led to Michael losing a court case with record label Sony over his frustration at how the album has been marketed. But it goes without saying that the singer, songwriter and music producer in him gave the world one of its biggest-selling artists.
But there were occasions when his battle with drugs and altercations with the police made sordid headlines that threatened to eclipse his musical talent and career.
Even as a solo artist, Michael’s scored another seven number one singles in the UK with timeless songs like Careless Whisper and Fastlove, in collaboration with Aretha Franklin and Elton John, that won three Brit Awards and two Grammys.
However, in personal life Michael always seemed to have found it difficult to balance his celebrity status with his private life. After years of refusing to be drawn under arched speculation about his sexuality, Michael disclosed he was gay in 1998 after being arrested in a public toilet in Beverly Hills California, for engaging in a “lewd act”.
Michael had recently been working on his documentary chronicling his rise to fame with Wham! The documentary film entitled Freedom was originally expected to be released this year but was recently delayed until next March.