George Michael has died at the age of 53, his publicist has said.

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The star, who launched his career with Wham! in the 1980s and continued his success as a solo performer, is said to have “passed away peacefully at home” in Goring, Oxfordshire.Thames Valley Police say they are treating the death as unexplained but there were no suspicious circumstances.

His former Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley said he was “heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend”. Writing on Twitter and referring to Michael as “Yog”, a nickname for “Yours Only George”, he added: “Me, his loved ones, his friends, the world of music, the world at large. 4ever loved. A xx”

George Michael

In a statement, Michael’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 South Central Ambulance Service attended a property in Goring at 13:42 GMT on Christmas Day. The force 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.”

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