George Michael Dead At 53

Photo: Francois Mori/AP/REX/Shutterstock.
Update: George Michael's manager, Michael Lippman, confirmed to the Associated Press that Michael passed away from heart failure. No additional details were given at press time.

This story was originally published on December 25, 2016 at 6:45 p.m. ET.

George Michael, singer and icon, is dead, his publicist confirms to the Associated Press. He was 53. "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 statement read. "The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage."

According to the BBC, Michael is said to have "passed away peacefully at home," but the exact cause of death was not given. Police said there were no suspicious circumstances. An ambulance was called to his home in Goring in Oxfordshire at 1:42 p.m. GMT.

Michael began his career as the singer for Wham!, along with former schoolmate Andrew Ridgeley, in the early 1980s. The group had hits with "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," "Careless Whisper," and the enduring "Last Christmas."

Michael went solo in 1987, releasing multiple albums which sold over 100 million copies worldwide and spawned several hit singles, including "Faith," "I Want Your Sex," and "Freedom." He was known for his provocative music videos and became an icon to the gay community after being outed in 1998 when he was arrested for soliciting sex. He came out on CNN that same year.

"I've written a whole body of work that I'm incredibly proud of," he told the Los Angeles Times about his career in a 2008 interview. "I've achieved what every artist wants, which is that some of their work will outlive them."