Raphael Saadiq, Chaka Khan and More React to the Death of George Michael
George Michael, English pop superstar who charted hits and wowed audiences for almost more than three decades, has died at age 53. According to an official statement, the singer died at his home in Goring in Oxfordshire, England.
“Thames Valley Police were called to a property in Goring-on-Thames shortly before 2 p.m. Christmas Day," read a statement from police. "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.”
Shortly after the news of Michael's death spread via social media, his publicist released a statement regarding his cause of death.
"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," said this statement. "The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage."
Michael, born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, first shot to fame in the early 1980s as frontman for the multiplatinum duo Wham!, with a sound that was heavily influenced by R&B and dance music. Wham! became one of the 80s most successful acts; charting in the U.K. and U.S. with major hits like "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," "Careless Whisper" and "All She Wants." In 1988, Michael broke out as a solo superstar with the blockbuster album Faith, and it's successful follow-up Listen Without Prejudice. Both albums spawned numerous hit singles, including "Father Figure," "Faith," Freedom 90" and "I Want Your Sex."
Michael's former Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley said he was "heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend." Famous fans and peers of the star voiced their shock and grief while paying tribute to what his music meant to so many.
Singer-songwriter Raphael Saadiq reflected on his first time seeing Wham! perform.
"Remembering 1st Wham show @ the Oakland Coliseum," Saadiq tweeted. "George Michael will always be remembered in front man history as one of the true artists."
Elton John posted a photo of his old friend on Instagram and wrote: "I am in deep shock. I have lost a beloved friend - the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist. My heart goes out to his family and all of his fans."
"So sorry to hear about George Michael's passing. Brilliant icon," tweeted Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. "'Kissing a Fool' one of my all time favs. Strength & light to his family."
More celebrity reactions below: