Pop star George Michael dies - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Pop star George Michael dies

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(NBC) -

Pop legend George Michael has died, his publicist said Sunday.

The singer was 53.

Michael's career began with the duo Wham in the 1980s, churning out hits like "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," and "Last Christmas" and continued into the 90s after he launched his debut chart-topping solo album "Faith" in 1987.

His publicist said he died at his home in Oxfordshire, according to a statement released to Britain's Press Association by Michael's publicist.

In this Sept. 4, 2012 file photo, British singer George Michael performs during his Symphonica tour in Vienna, Austria. AP

"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," it 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 was originally born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, in London, on June 25, 1965 to a Greek immigrant father and a British mother.

An 80s and 90s heartthrob, questions about Michael's sexuality swirled until he was arrested in 1998 for "engaging in a lewd" act in a public park restroom in Beverly Hills, CA.

In 2007, Michael told the Independent newspaper that hiding his sexuality made him feel like a fraud and that his arrest was subconsciously deliberate. 

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