Singer-songwriter George Michael “passed away peacefully at home” on Sunday at the age of 53, according to his publicist. His manager told the Associated Press that the suspected cause of death was heart failure.
Michael rose to fame as half of the pop duo Wham! in the 1980s, with the giant hits Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, Careless Whisper, and Last Christmas. He had many more hits as a solo artist, such as Faith, Freedom 90, and I Want Your Sex. Billboard ranks him as the 40th most successful artist to ever live, and the Radio Academy named him the most played artist on British radio during the period from 1984–2004. He sold more than 100 million records worldwide over the course of his career, won 2 Grammys, 3 American Music Awards, and numerous other awards and honors.
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Probably most importantly, if you were alive in America (or Britain, I’m guessing) in the 80s and early 90s, George Michael’s music was part of the soundtrack of your life. Careless Whisper, Last Christmas, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, Freedom, and others are still ubiquitous, probably on their way to being considered standards. I can’t tell you how much time I spent dancing to his songs. (Imagine the show Rock of Ages as the setting. It’s shockingly close to the real 80s bar scene. Gave me flashbacks.) 2016 has now taken away David Bowie, Prince, and George Michael, 3 icons of 80s music. The dance bar in the sky is having a great year. Those of us down here on Earth, not so much. You’ll be missed, George. 😪😪😪