ICONIC musician George Michael died peacefully at his home on Christmas Day 2016, aged 53, at the end of a year which saw many of our most beloved figures in music, film and comedy pass away.
Who was George Michael and how did his career take off?
George Michael was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in East Finchley, London, in 1963.
He was the son of Kyriacos Panayiotou, a Greek Cypriot restaurateur, and English dancer Lesley Angold.
The family moved to Hertfordshire in George’s early teens where he met Andrew Ridgeley, who would later be his partner in Wham!.
George’s flair as a musician was evident early in his life, through busking on the London Underground in his teens and local DJ sets in clubs and schools.
George and Andrew formed the duo Wham! in 1981, and the duo tasted instant success with their 1983 debut album Fantastic becoming UK number one and producing a string of hit singles.
Their second album, Make It Big, was released in 1984 and became an even bigger hit, reaching number one across the world and catapulting George to international superstardom.
Wham! became the first Western pop group to tour China, including 10 ground-breaking dates there on their huge 1985 world tour.
However, with George’s solo career beginning to take off and his profile dwarfing that of his co-star, Wham! announced they were breaking up in 1986.
George described the breakup split as “the most amicable split in pop history,” and they bid goodbye to their fans with a huge farewell show at Wembley Stadium.
How did George Michael die?
Thames Valley Police said an ambulance attended the singer’s home property in Goring, Oxfordshire, at 1.42pm on Christmas Day, adding that his death was being treated as “unexplained but not suspicious”.
He was was found dead in bed by his boyfriend Fadi Fawaz.
Senior coroner Darren Salter said the pop legend suffered from dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and fatty liver and died of natural causes.
The verdict was delayed until March 7 as the coroner awaited the results of toxicology tests – a wait which left funeral plans on hold.
An initial post-mortem, held in late December, had proved inconclusive.
How much was George Michael worth?
Since his death, it has been revealed that George left an estimated fortune of £105million.
With no husband, children or obvious heirs to the estate, it is believed that the money will be split among his many godchildren.
These include Martin Kemp’s children Roman and Harley, his cousin Andros’ two children, and Geri Halliwell’s daughter Bluebell, whose actual godfather is George’s ex partner Kenny Goss.
It is also expected that his boyfriend Fadi, as well as his sisters Melanie and Yioda could also get a cut from the estate.
What about his personal life?
As his solo career took off and he became one of the 1980s’ most recognisable stars, George’s personal life came under huge scrutiny.
He had told close friends that he was bisexual as a teenager, but kept his sexuality secret for many years before eventually revealing that he was gay.
George later said he had remained closeted because he worried what effect the revelation would have on his mother.
One of his lovers, Brazilian designer Anselmo Feleppa, discovered he had HIV six months into their relationship after they met in 1991 – he died of an AIDS-related illness in 1993.
In 1996, he entered into a long-term relationship with Kenny Goss, with the pair coming close to a civil partnership in 2005.
Although they split in 2009, George and Kenny are thought to have become close again in the weeks leading up to the singer’s death.
From that year until his death, the pop icon had been in a relationship with celebrity hair stylist Fadi Fawaz.
The star became embroiled in numerous controversies throughout his career, with George arrested for “engaging in a lewd act” in California in 1998, and admitting that he cruised for anonymous sex on Hampstead Heath in 2006.
He was also arrested several times for drug-related offences and described his use of cannabis as a problem in a 2007 interview. That year he had been banned from driving after pleading guilty to driving while unfit through drugs.
Who is Fadi Fawaz?
Australian-born Fadi Fawaz, 43, is a hairdresser to the stars who previously worked as a photographer and frequently posts his pictures on social media.
He was first photographed with George in 2015 after they were snapped walking together in Switzerland.
George and Fadi first met in 2009. The pair started their romance shortly after George’s split with his long-term partner Kenny Goss, who he had been with for thirteen years.
It later emerged that Fawaz slept in his car on the night of George Michael’s death, despite originally claiming he spent the entire weekend at the star’s house.
The leaked tape of Fadi’s 999 call revealed he tried to wake George for an hour before he called an ambulance.
The celebrity snapper is reportedly “in line for £1m tell-all book deal” about his relationship with the late music legend.
What were George Michael’s most famous songs?
The star produced an array of hit singles and albums, both as part of Wham!, in his glittering solo career, and as a featured artist in series of high-profile collaborations.
He sold over 100 million records worldwide, and performed in both the original Band Aid charity single in 1984 and alongside Elton John in the Live Aid concert the following year.
Here are some of the singer’s biggest hits:
“Bad Boys” 1983 – UK number 2
“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” 1984 – UK number 1, US number 1
“Freedom” 1984 – UK number 1
“I’m Your Man” 1985 – UK number 1
“The Edge of Heaven” 1986 – UK number 1
“Where Did Your Heart Go?” 1986 – UK number 1
As a solo artist
“Careless Whisper” 1984 – UK number 1, US number 1
“A Different Corner” 1986 – UK number 1
“I Want Your Sex” 1987 – US platinum
“Faith” 1987 – UK number 2, US number 1
“I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” (with Aretha Franklin) 1987 – UK number 1, US number 1
“Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” (with Elton John) 1991 – UK number 1, US number 1
“Somebody to Love” (with Queen) 1993 – UK number 1
“Killer / Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” 1993 – UK number 1
“Jesus to a Child” 1996 – UK number 1
“Fastlove” 1996 – UK number 1
READ MORE ON GEORGE MICHAEL
ISN’T HE GEORGEOUS?
Joy as mum George Michael secretly gave £9,000 to for IVF treatment finally gives birth
A GEM FROM LEN
Former Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman set to appear in music video for Sony Music
‘HE WAS VERY SPIRITUAL’
Top psychic claims George Michael has backed pal Geri Horner for ‘big comeback’
another go go
George Michael’s first posthumous single debuts today as his sisters vow to continue his musical legacy
George Michael’s beloved dog Abby repeatedly pines for her late owner at his shrine… and has even lost her appetite