FILE PHOTO: British singer George Michael arrives at Highbury Magistrates Court in London September 14, 2010. REUTERS

LONDON Dec 25 – British pop singer George Michael, who shot to fame in the 1980s with Wham! and continued as a solo artist, died on Sunday at his home in England. He was 53.

“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,” his publicist said in a 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,” the statement said.

Born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, he once played music on the London underground train system before forming Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley in 1981.

He died peacefully at his home in Oxfordshire, England, on Christmas Day. – REUTERS

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