“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,” his publicist Connie Filippello said in a statement to the New York Times.
Michael was a member of the duo Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley throughout the 1980s and embarked on a solo career after. He became a pop culture icon for his artistry and vibrant stage presence.
Much of his music inspired those in the Hip Hop community. His 1984 song “Careless Whisper” was sampled on songs featuring Nas, Outkast and Silkk the Shocker and Future used it on his 2014 song “Rock Star” with Nicki Minaj. Freddie Gibbs sampled 2004’s “Amazing” in his 2015 track “Careless.”
This caps off a year where many legends, including Prince, David Bowie and Phife Dawg passed away.