World reacts to death of British singer George Michael at age 53

Published: Dec. 25, 2016 at 9:01 PM EST
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The music world is reacting to the death of pop star George Michael.

Andrew Ridgeley, who teamed up with Michael in the group Wham! tweeted, "Heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend."

Elton John says, "I have lost a beloved friend - the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist."

Michael died Sunday from heart failure. He was 53.

Fans are mourning the death of pop star George Michael as British charities praise his generosity.

Many paid tribute on Facebook and Twitter and others cited years of good works that received little publicity.

He was lauded Monday for helping many British organizations including Macmillan Cancer Support, Childline, and the Terrence Higgins Trust, which helps support AIDS victims.

Jane Barron from the Trust said Michael made many donations and gifts, including the royalties of his "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" duet with Elton John in 1991.

Childline founder Esther Rantzen said Michael gave royalties from his 1996 hit "Jesus To A Child" to the charity, which offers phone counseling for young people.

She said he was extraordinarily generous and "determined" to avoid publicity about his donations.

George Michael, who rocketed to stardom with WHAM! and went on to enjoy a long and celebrated solo career lined with controversies, has died, his publicist said Sunday. He was 53.

Michael died at his home in Goring, England. His publicist, Cindi Berger, said he had not been ill. No other details were released.

Michael enjoyed immense popularity early in his career as a teenybopper idol, delivering a series of hits such as "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," ''Young Guns (Go For It)" and "Freedom." As a solo artist, he developed into a more serious singer and songwriter, lauded by critics for his tremendous vocal range.

Throughout his career, his drug use and taste for risky sex brought him into frequent brushes with the law, most famously in 1998 when he was arrested for public lewdness in Los Angeles. Yet, he managed to turn the incident into fodder for a popular song that poked fun at his behavior, and his acknowledgment of his homosexuality at that time made him even more popular with his fans.

Michael, with startling good looks and an easy stage manner, formed the boy band WHAM! with his school friend Andrew Ridgeley in the early 1980's. Helped by MTV, the cheerful duo easily crossed the Atlantic to become popular in the United States.

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