George Michael, Wham lead singer, dead at 53, publicist says

(CBS NEWS) — British superstar George Michael has died, his publicist confirms to CBS News. 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,” the statement read. “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, whose real name is Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, rose to fame as the lead singer of the pop-duo Wham!.

In 2011, the singer had a life-threatening bout of pneumonia. At the time, he thanked the staff at Vienna General Hospital for keeping him alive in the intensive care unit.

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