He was “the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist,” Elton John wrote on Instagram, leading tributes to George Michael who died aged 53 on Christmas Day.
The singer is believed to have died from heart failure, his manager Michael Lippman said, according to the UK-based Press Association.
Michael’s death, which is being treated as “unexpected but not suspicious” by police, was also confirmed by the singer’s family.
“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,” said a statement from Michael’s family.
In a career spanning four decades, Michael sold over 100 million albums and had 11 UK number ones with songs such as Careless Whisper, Faith, Outside and Freedom! 90.
After enjoying early success in the duo Wham! alongside friend Andrew Ridgeley, he built a solo career which catapulted him to further stardom, awards and riches.
Ridgeley, the other half of Wham!, was one of the first to react to the news, tweeting that he was “heartbroken”.
Heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend Yog. Me, his loved ones, his friends, the world of music, the world at large. 4ever loved. A xx https://t.co/OlGTm4D9O6
— Andrew Ridgeley (@ajridgeley) December 26, 2016
Singer Bryan Adams tweeted: “Such an incredible singer and a lovely human being, far too young to leave us.”
RIP George Michael. I can't believe it. Such an incredible singer and a lovely human being, far too young to leave us #georgemichael
— Bryan Adams (@bryanadams) December 25, 2016
Comedian Ellen DeGeneres said Michael “was such a brilliant talent. I’m so sad.”
I just heard about my friend @GeorgeMichael's death. He was such a brilliant talent. I'm so sad.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) December 25, 2016
The two-time Grammy Award recipient “became one of the most beloved pop craftsmen and respected entertainers,” said Neil Portnow, president/CEO of The Recording Academy, which awards the Grammys.
“From the enormous success he achieved with pop duo Wham! to his influential solo career, his extraordinary talent had a profound impact on countless entertainers worldwide, and his creative contributions will live on forever,” Portnow said in a statement.
By James Masters, Ian James Lee and Lorenzo Agostino