On Dec. 25, 2016, singer George Michael passed away at the age of 53. According to his publicist, Michael passed away peacefully at home over Christmas. Although the BBC reports that he cancelled a series of concerts in 2011 after being treated for pneumonia, it has not been immediately confirmed that his past illness could be related to Michael's cause of death.
Michael rose to fame in the '80s as one half of the musical duo, Wham! Although the band had many hits, the song "Last Christmas" remains one of their most celebrated pieces of work — as The Atlantic noted, it's " one of the few canonical Christmas songs minted after the Baby Boom."
Beyond his time with Wham!, Michael had a successful solo career, with 14 awards, many Billboard Top 100 hits, and over 100 million albums sold. Later in life, he became something of a gay icon, after coming out publicly during a CNN interview in 1998.
In a year when we lost so many beloved celebrities (David Bowie, Prince, and Alan Rickman among others) Michael's death is hitting fans particularly hard. An outpouring of love and tributes is already taking over social media as the community remembers one of the most beloved singers of our time.
A man that inspired so many with his talent. George Michael, RIP. pic.twitter.com/nftp5T31sm— Heart (@thisisheart) December 25, 2016
R.I.P. to the marvelous George Michael. Remembering the "Last Christmas" singer on this Christmas Day. pic.twitter.com/BIFBCEi64j— iHeartRadio (@iHeartRadio) December 25, 2016
there isn't enough time left in the day to listen to every wham! song ever written. rip george michael.— tae young kim (@demomadamada) December 25, 2016
Bowie, Prince and now George Michael: mould-breakers not only in terms of artistry but of sexuality and its full, complex spectrum.— Stig Abell (@StigAbell) December 25, 2016
In memory of George Michael - from May 1983 pic.twitter.com/1TRBfOI9CB— Smash Hits 1980s (@SmashHits1980s) December 25, 2016