“Singer George Michael has died at the age of 53, his publicist has said,” reports the BBC.
The story continues, “The star, who launched his career with Wham! in the 1980s and continued his success as a solo performer, is said to have ‘passed away peacefully at home’ in Goring, Oxfordshire [in the United Kingdom]. Thames Valley Police say they are treating the death as unexplained but there were no suspicious circumstances.”
Writes Jon Pareles in The New York Times, Michael “was one of pop’s reigning stars in the 1980s and ’90s — first as a handsome, smiling teen-pop idol making lighthearted singles like ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ with Wham!, then arriving as a grown-up pop sex symbol with his 1987 album “Faith.”
Later in his obituary Pareles adds, “In 1998, Mr. Michael came out as gay after being arrested on charges of lewd conduct in a men’s room in Beverly Hills, Calif. He had long lent his name and music to support AIDS prevention and gay rights. During interviews in later years, he described himself as bisexual, and said that hiding his sexuality had made him feel ‘fraudulent.’ He also described long struggles with depression.
Here’s the official U.S. music video of “Faith,” which was Michael’s biggest hit (from YouTube):