Celebrity friends and colleagues of George Michael from around the world are reacting to news of the singer's death. The performer, who first found success in the 1980s with pop duo Wham!, was 53 when he passed peacefully at his home on Christmas Day.

"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," Michael's family said in a statement. "The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage."

The 53-year-old, who was born in East Finchley, London, as Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, sold more than 100 million records in a career spanning nearly four decades.

Michael's Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley took to Twitter to say he was "heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend".

In a statement released on Instagram, fellow British artist Sir Elton John said he was in "deep shock" over Michael's death. "I am in deep shock. I have lost a beloved friend - the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist. My heart goes out to his family and all of his fans."

Similar sentiments were shared by celebrities on Twitter.