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Singer George Michael dies aged 53

AAP logoAAP 25/12/2016

British pop singer George Michael, who had numerous hits in the group Wham in the 1980s and later as a solo artist, has died at the age of 53.

His publicist confirmed the singer's death on Sunday and said in a statement: "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.

"The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage."

Thames Valley Police said South Central Ambulance Service attended a property in Goring in Oxfordshire on Christmas Day.

Police say there were no suspicious circumstances.

Michael nearly died from pneumonia in late 2011.

After receiving treatment in a Vienna hospital, he made a tearful appearance outside his London home and said it had been ''touch and go'' whether he lived.

Doctors had performed a tracheotomy to keep his airways open and he was unconscious for some of his spell in hospital.

George Michael © Provided by AAP George Michael

Meanwhile, Michael's 1990 album Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1 had been set to be reissued accompanied by a new film featuring Stevie Wonder, Elton John and the supermodels who starred in the video to his hit single Freedom! '90.

The movie, with the working title Freedom: George Michael, was to be narrated by Michael and set to feature Mark Ronson, Mary J Blige, Tony Bennett, Liam Gallagher, James Corden and Ricky Gervais.

Tributes have poured in for the star on Twitter.

Ricky Gervais, who cast Michael in an episode of his sitcom Extras, wrote: "Unbelievable. RIP George Michael."

While Duran Duran posted: "2016 - loss of another talented soul. All our love and sympathy to @GeorgeMichaels family."

Martin Fry, lead singer and songwriter with Look Of Love band ABC, said: "Absolutely devastated to hear of the loss of @GeorgeMichael Truly brilliant talent #sad #sad #sad."

Gary Numan tweeted: "Oh no. George Michael RIP."

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