George Michael has “passed away peacefully at home”, it was announced tonight.
His publicist broke the news in a statement issued at 11pm UK time, saying he died over the Christmas period.
The statement said: “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.”
Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.
George sold more than 80 million records worldwide in a career spanning four decades.
He began as one half of pop duo Wham! – but became famous in his own right with his debut solo single Careless Whisper.
His 1987 debut solo album Faith sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.#
He achieved seven number one singles in the UK and eight number one hits in the US.
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.
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.
he 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.
The record was his second solo album, after the hugely successful Faith, and was arranged produced and almost entirely written by Michael, but did not feature him on the album cover.
It featured hits including Cowboys And Angels, Mother’s Pride and Praying For Time and outsold Faith in the UK, where it went platinum four times but led to a court case with US record label Sony about Michael’s frustration over how the album has been marketed.
Michael lost the case.