British singer George Michael has died at his home at the age of 53, his agent announced Sunday night.
“It is with great sadness that we confirm that our son, brother and friend George died in peace at his home at Christmas,” said the singer’s agent in a statement.
He died at his home in Goring, west of London, according to the BBC. His death is not considered suspicious by the British police.
“I am deeply shocked. I lost a dear friend – the most kind and generous, and a brilliant artist. My thoughts go to his family and all his fans,” British singer Elton John said on Instagram.
The former member of the Wham, whose real name was Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, had survived pneumonia in 2011. His condition had required intensive care because of the severity of the pneumococcal infection he had contracted.
“It was literally the worst month of my life, but I have an incredible, incredible chance to be here,” he said after his hospitalization.
In recent years, George Michael was preparing an album with the British producer Naughty Boy. The popularity of the singer had declined in the 1990s, but returned in 2004 with the album Patience, which reaches number 1 on the charts in the UK.
The ‘Faith’ singer has experienced various setbacks related to drugs and alcohol in the past. In particular, he spent four weeks in jail in 2010 after crashing his Range Rover into a shop in northern London under the influence of cannabis.
Three years earlier he was found passed out in his Mercedes and had admitted to having used drugs but had escaped prison by performing 100 hours of community service. He had been banned from driving for two years.
The pop star, who began his career in the early 1980s with the band Wham!, has sold over 100 million records worldwide, including 20 million with his first solo album Faith released in 1987.
His latest solo album, Symphonica , released in 2014, went gold in the UK