George Michael (born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou; 25 June 1963 – 25 December 2016) was an English singer-songwriter and record producer. He is one of the best-selling musicians of all time, with his sales estimated at between 100 million and 125 million records worldwide. A prominent figure in popular music, Michael was known as a creative force in songwriting, vocal performance, and visual presentation. He achieved 13 number-one songs on the UK Singles Chart and 10 number-one songs on the US Billboard Hot 100. Michael won numerous music awards, including two Grammy Awards, three Brit Awards, twelve Billboard Music Awards, and four MTV Video Music Awards. He was listed among Billboard's the "Greatest Hot 100 Artists of All Time" and Rolling Stone′s the “200 Greatest Singers of All Time”. The Radio Academy named him the most played artist on British radio during the period 1984–2004. Michael was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2023.Born in East Finchley, Middlesex, Michael formed the pop duo Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley in 1981. Their first two albums, Fantastic (1983) and Make It Big (1984), reached number one on the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200. Their hit singles included "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" and "Last Christmas". Their tour of China in 1985 was the first by a Western popular music act, and generated worldwide media coverage.Michael's first solo single, "Careless Whisper" (1984), reached number one in over 20 countries, including the UK and US. The singles "A Different Corner" and the Aretha Franklin duet "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" also reached number one. Michael's debut solo album, Faith (1987), topped the UK Albums Chart and stayed at number one on the Billboard 200 for 12 weeks. It sold 25 million copies worldwide, and the singles "Faith", "Father Figure", "One More Try", and "Monkey" reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Michael became the best-selling music artist of 1988, and Faith was awarded Album of the Year at the 1989 Grammy Awards. His second solo album, Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 (1990), was also a number one in the UK and yielded the Billboard Hot 100 number one "Praying for Time" and the worldwide hit "Freedom! '90". Michael went on to release a series of multimillion-selling albums, including Older (1996), Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael (1998), Songs from the Last Century (1999), Patience (2004), and Twenty Five (2006). The albums earned him multiple hits such as “Jesus to a Child”, “Fastlove”, “Outside”, “Amazing”, and “An Easier Affair”.
Michael came out as gay in 1998, and was an active LGBT rights campaigner and HIV/AIDS charity fundraiser. His personal life, drug use, and legal troubles made headlines following an arrest for public lewdness in 1998 and multiple drug-related offences. The 2005 documentary A Different Story covered his career and personal life. Michael's 25 Live tour spanned three tours from 2006 to 2008. Michael fell into a coma in 2011 during a bout with pneumonia, but later recovered. He performed his final concert at London's Earls Court in 2012. Michael died of heart disease on Christmas Day in 2016, at his home in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.