Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou (25 June 1963 – 25 December 2016), known professionally as George Michael, was an English singer, songwriter, philanthropist 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 "
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" and "
Last Christmas", 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 "
Praying for Time". He ranks among the
best-selling British acts of all time, and in 2008 he was ranked 40th on Billboard's list of the Greatest Hot 100 Artists of All Time. 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.