The sun goes down on beloved pop superstar George Michael

On Christmas Day, the 1980s pop icon George Michael was found dead inside his home in Oxfordshire, England.

The news was shocking, not just because the Grammy Award-winning artist was 53, but also because of the enormous impact he had on artists of his era and his lasting influence on some of today’s biggest pop stars.

Through his publicist, Michael’s family issued a brief statement requesting privacy following his death. Others, however, shared stories that attested to his character and a career that resulted in the sale of over 100 million records — as well as numerous controversies.

“Devastating,” tweeted fellow 1980s pop star Boy George. “What a beautiful voice he had and his music will live on as a testament to his talent. I can’t believe he is gone.”
Early life and early fame
Michael was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in East Finchley, London, on June 25, 1963. The son of a Greek restaurateur, he grew up in Kingsbury, London, and met his Wham! partner, Andrew Ridgeley, while attending Bushey Meads School.
Michael began deejaying at local clubs and he and Ridgeley formed a short-lived band called The Executive. But it was their success with their duo group Wham! that skyrocketed them to fame in 1981. Their first album, “Fantastic,” hit number one on charts in 1983 with several hits including “Young Guns,” “Wham Rap!” and “Club Tropicana.”
The group’s second album, “Make It Big,” also achieved number one success in both the United Kingdom and in the United States with the hits “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” “Freedom,” “Everything She Wants” and “Careless Whisper.”