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The former Wham singer George Michael dead at 53

George Michael performs during the closing ceremony of the 2012 summer olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Kristy Wigglesworth)

(AP2012)

Singer George Michael, who sold more than 100 million albums over a pop music career of nearly four decades, has died at the age of 53, his publicist said Sunday.

“It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George died quietly at home during the Christmas period,” read a statement issued to British media.

“The family would ask that their privacy be respected during this difficult and emotional time. There are no further comments at this time.”

The BBC reported that an ambulance was called to Michael’s home in Oxfordshire, England shortly before 2 pm local time (9 a.m. ET) Sunday.

The report added that there were no suspicious circumstances around Michael’s death.

Michael had almost died of a pneumonia in the fall of 2011. After receiving treatment in a Vienna hospital, he made a tearful appearance outside his London home and said that it was “touch and go” whether he lived.

Doctors did a tracheotomy to keep his airways open and he was unconscious for some of his stay in the hospital.

Born as Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in London, Michael rose to fame as a member of Wham!, known for their hits “Club Tropicana” and “Last Christmas.”

Michael was set to make a documentary next year in the re-release of his 1990 album Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1. The film, which has the working title “Freedom: George Michael,” was told by Michael, and include Mark Ronson, Mary J. Blige, Tony Bennett, Liam Gallagher, James Corden and Ricky Gervais.

This story will be updated.

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