Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou (25 June 1963 – 25 December 2016), known professionally as George Michael, was an English singer, songwriter, and record producer who rose to fame as a member of the music duo Wham! He was best known for his work in the 1980s and 1990s, including hit singles such as “Last Christmas” and “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, and albums such as Faith (1987) and Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 (1990).
Michael sold more than 100 million records worldwide. His debut solo album, Faith, sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. Michael achieved seven number one singles in the UK and eight number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, including “Careless Whisper” and “Freedom! ’90”. He ranks among the best-selling British acts of all time, ranked by Billboard magazine as the 40th-most successful artist ever. Michael won various music awards throughout his 30-year career, including three Brit Awards—he won Best British Male twice, four MTV Video Music Awards, four Ivor Novello Awards, three American Music Awards, and two Grammy Awards from eight nominations. Michael, who came out as gay in 1998, was an active LGBT rights campaigner and HIV/AIDS charity fundraiser.
In 2004, the Radio Academy named Michael the most played artist on British radio during the period 1984–2004. The documentary A Different Story (released in 2005) covered his career and personal life. Michael’s first tour in 15 years, the worldwide 25 Live tour, spanned three tours over the course of three years (2006, 2007, and 2008). In the early hours of 25 December 2016, Michael, aged 53, was found dead in bed at his Oxfordshire home.