George Michael, born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou on June 25, 1963, and passing away on December 25, 2016, was an acclaimed English singer-songwriter and record producer. He holds a place among the highest-selling musicians in history, with estimated global record sales ranging from 100 million to 125 million.
Michael stood out as a prominent and influential figure in the world of popular music, renowned for his innovative contributions to songwriting, exceptional vocal talents, and captivating visual artistry. He reached the top spot on the UK Singles Chart with 13 of his songs and secured 10 number-one hits on the US Billboard Hot 100.
In this article, we will delve into the circumstances surrounding George Michael’s passing and explore the details of his death. Additionally, we will reflect on the posthumous induction of George Michael into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, paying tribute to this musical legend.
George Michael’s 2016 Death: The Unexpected Passing And Cause
George Michael, renowned for his music that touched a global audience since the 1980s, passed away unexpectedly in 2016, deeply shocking and grieving his countless fans. He initially rose to fame as part of the iconic pop duo Wham! and later achieved significant success as a solo artist, selling millions of records.
Despite his public achievements, he faced personal challenges, including the loss of his first love, Anselmo Feleppa, and his mother, Lesley Angold Panayiotou, in the 1990s, marking a difficult period in his life.
Following George Michael’s death, the initial autopsy results were inconclusive, with authorities describing his passing as “unexplained but not suspicious.” However, subsequent extensive examinations revealed that he died from natural causes.
The coroner’s investigation determined that he had dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and fatty liver. Dilated cardiomyopathy is a heart condition where the left ventricle enlarges and becomes less effective at pumping blood, potentially leading to heart failure.
Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart, often triggered by viral infections. Fatty liver disease involves the accumulation of fat in the liver, commonly associated with alcoholism but also affecting non-heavy drinkers, as well as those with obesity and diabetes.
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The coroner’s final report confirmed a natural cause of death, specifically Dilated Cardiomyopathy with Myocarditis and Fatty Liver, leading to the conclusion of the investigation without the need for an inquest or further inquiries.
A Tribute To A Musical Legend
George Michael’s posthumous induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame marked a poignant moment seven years after his passing at age 53. His incomparable voice, charisma, and genre-spanning versatility were celebrated as contemporary artists paid tribute.
The tribute featured Grammy-winning R&B singer Miguel, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, and country superstar Carrie Underwood, who delivered heartfelt renditions of Michael’s songs. Andrew Ridgeley, his former Wham! partner, emotionally inducted him, acknowledging his profound impact on music and highlighting their enduring friendship and shared journey from schoolmates to pop stars.
Ridgeley detailed George Michael’s impressive accomplishments, including 155 million records sold, 13 No. 1 hits, and collaborations with music legends. He praised Michael’s sublime voice, which conveyed both strength and vulnerability, resonating in his exceptional songwriting.
A pre-recorded tribute video portrayed Michael’s evolution from a British pop sensation to a mature solo artist with a meaningful musical message. It also explored his struggles as a closeted gay man, which he addressed in his groundbreaking 1990 album.
The video concluded with George Michael’s aspiration to leave a musical legacy, a wish that has been realized through his timeless songs, such as “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “Freedom ’90,” which continue to resonate with audiences.
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Ridgeley’s emotional response underscored the honor George Michael would have felt in being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The author shared a personal memory of waiting outside the Richfield Coliseum to purchase tickets for Michael’s “The Faith Tour” in 1988, reflecting on the joy and music-filled moments of that time.