Singer George Michael (53) has died

The ex-Wham frontman "passed away peacefully" in his Oxfordshire home today

Ex-Wham singer George Michael "passed away peacefully" in his Oxfordshire home today, according to his publicist.

Born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, the singer enjoyed a successful career which lasted almost four decades and saw him sell more than 100 million albums. Michael's career began with Wham in the 1980s before he later launched a solo career. 

A statement released by the singer's publicist this evening reads:  

"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."

Tributes to the singer are pouring in on social media, with many expressing their sadness over the number of well-known figures who have died so far this year.