Sad news for music fans: Iconic British singer George Michael passed away at age 53 on Christmas Day. His publicist confirmed his death in a statement that said the former Wham member and solo artist "passed away peacefully at home." But did George Michael have health problems leading up to his Dec. 25 death, though? The singer has battled addiction throughout his life and also survived a rough bout of pneumonia in 2011, for which stayed in a hospital in Vienna, according the BBC. UPDATE: The Hollywood Reporter reports that George Michael's long-time manager confirmed that the singer died of heart failure, and was found in his home on Christmas morning.
The Thames Valley Police sent THR the following statement: "Thames Valley Police were called to a property in Goring-on-Thames shortly before 2 p.m. Christmas Day. Sadly, a 53-year-old man was confirmed deceased at the scene. 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."
Earlier: George Michael's heath made headlines last year when his cousin Jackie Georgiou told The Sun newspaper that the singer allegedly checked into a rehab facility in Switzerland for treatment for an alleged addiction to crack cocaine.
George Michael denied the claims via Twitter on July 12, 2015. "To my lovelies, do not believe this rubbish in the papers today by someone I don’t know anymore and haven’t seen for nearly 18 years…," he wrote in the tweets. “I am perfectly fine and enjoyed Wimbledon like the rest of you."
In May 2014, The Daily Mail reported that George Michael spent several days in a London hospital and he was allegedly taken in via ambulance. At the time, his spokesperson confirmed the hospital stay in a statement, but they did not reveal a reason for the visit. "In response to newspaper reports today, we can confirm George was admitted to hospital on May 22," the statement said. "He was discharged last weekend and is well and resting ... Given the personal nature of this matter there will be no further comment."
George Michael's most public heath scare came in 2011, when he survived a bout of severe pneumonia, for which he was hospitalized in Vienna for a month. According to BBC News, the artist said his illness was "touch and go for awhile" and he declared the time to be "the worst month of my life." The illness caused him to cancel his remaining tour dates at the time, but he said he was optimistic about his recovery, according to the BBC.
"They spent three weeks keeping me alive, basically... I'm incredibly fortunate to be here," George Michael said in the press conference, according to BBC News. "Somebody here still thinks I've got some work to do."
George Michael publicly spoke about his use of marijuana in 2006 to the BBC Radio 4 program Desert Island Discs. "Absolutely I would like to take less, no question," he said, according to BBC News. "To that degree, it's a problem." But he added that his use of the drug was not "getting in the way of my life in any way," according to the BBC. In a 2006 interview with The Guardian, George Michael told the publication that he "had a problem with sleeping pills for about a year and a half."
The Hollywood Reporter reported that the beloved artist's manager has confirmed that George Michael died of heart failure, but it is currently unclear if his death related to any of his past health issues.
No matter what, the singer will be sorely missed.