Award-winning British Singer George Michael has died at the age of 53. George Michael's longtime manager Michael Lippman has reportedly claimed the singer died of heart failure, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Thames Valley Police published a statement on the behalf of the 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. The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage."

Police said confirmed the South Central Ambulance Service attended a property in Goring-on-Thames in Oxfordshire at 1:42pm GMT on 25 December.

Police said: "The death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious. A post-mortem will be undertaken in due course. There will be no further updates from Thames Valley Police until the post-mortem has taken place."

The singer, born in East Finchley, London, as Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, rose to fame in the early 1980s with pop duo Wham! alongside fellow performer Andrew Ridgeley.

The musician has sold over 100 million records in a career spanning three-and-a-half decades. His solo breakout came with his debut album Faith which itself has sold 20 million copies worldwide. Michael has won three Brit awards, four MTV VMAs, four Ivor Novello Awards, three American Music Awards, and Two Grammys.

Through the highs of his musical achievements, he battled the intrusions of tabloid press and suffered bouts of depression. Michael struggled with a number of controversies throughout his career related to his drug use and run-ins with the law.

In 1998 he was arrested in Beverly Hills for engaging in a lewd act in a public toilet. The incident cast light on his sexuality, and the singer soon after revealed he was gay in an interview on CNN. "I feel stupid and reckless and weak for letting my sexuality be exposed that way. But I do not feel shame [about my sexuality], neither do I think I should," Michael told CNN.

In 2006 he was charged with possession of class C drugs, and in 2010 he did a spell in prison for driving under the influence of drugs. Despite these incidents he will be remembered as not only a British star but a global pop icon; a legend of the 80s.

George Michael
George Michael passed away peacefully on Christmas Day at his home in Oxfordshire REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

Michael dabbled in political songwriting, with the song Shoot The Dog criticising the relationship between the UK and US and the Iraq War.

He will also be remembered for his charity work, taking part in the 1984 supergroup Band Aid for the song Do They Know It's Christmas in efforts to raise money to combat famine in Ethiopia. Michael also threw his support behind Aids charities, and was a patron of the Elton John Aids Foundation. He was also a patron of Rainbow Trust, a charity for terminally ill children.

Michael had previously suffered health scares. In 2011 the singer cancelled a string of concerts, suffering from pneumonia. While in hospital he slipped into a three-week coma and had undergone a tracheotomy. The singer said that upon waking from his coma he temporarily had a West Country accent.

In 2013 the singer suffered a head injury after falling from his moving car on a motorway. He was airlifted to hospital.