The singer was only 53 but his death was being classified as “unexplained but not suspicious.” He died at his home in Oxfordshire, in England, according to statements from his publicist and police.
“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,” read a statement from Michael’s publicist.”The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage.”
“I have lost a beloved friend — the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist,” singer Elton John wrote on Instagram.
Madonna was another of the hundreds of musical giants and regular fans who voiced grief online, saying in a tweet, “Farewell My Friend! Another Great Artist leaves us. Can 2016 F–k Off NOW.”
The Recording Academy also released a statement on Michael, a two-time Grammy winner, saying in part: “During an influential career that spanned nearly four decades, George became one of the most beloved pop craftsmen and respected entertainers … We have lost a cherished artist and our sincerest condolences go out to George’s family, friends, and musical collaborators. He will be missed.”