UPDATE 10.15am AEDT
Pop star George Michael battled a “spiralling” heroin addiction, according to a UK media outlet.
An unnamed source has told The Telegraph newspaper that the pop legend had been battling an addiction over the past year and had been treated in hospital for an overdose.
The source told The Telegraph: “He’s been rushed to A&E on several occasions. He used heroin. I think it’s amazing he’s lasted as long as he has.”
The cause of Michael’s death, according to manager Michael Lipman was cardiac arrest, which can be common among heroin users.
A paparazzi picture of Michael, thought to be one of the last shots of him in public, shows a very different, bloated-looking Michael dining out in Oxfordshire in September.
— Shelly Emiko Räihälä (@ShellyRaihala) December 26, 2016
British singer and pop music legend George Michael has died “peacefully at home” in England, with his manager Michael Lippman blaming heart failure as the cause of death.
Lippman said the singer was found “in bed, lying peacefully”, but did not offer further details on the incident.
An earlier statement from publicist Cindi Berger confirmed the singer’s death.
“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,” his statement said.
“The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage.”
After visiting his Oxfordshire home, police said they were treating the death as unexplained, but that there were no suspicious circumstances, the BBC reported.
The 53-year-old was not known to be in ill health, but his health had been the subject of some recent media attention.
Between 2006 and 2010 he was arrested several times for drug-related offences and later admitted that he had cut back his daily Marijuana consumption.
Last year he was also forced to publicly deny new allegations about drug-taking, describing them as ”highly inaccurate”.
In late 2011, Michael almost died from pneumonia.
After receiving treatment in a hospital in Vienna, Austria, he made a tearful appearance outside his London home and said it had been ”touch and go” whether he lived.
Doctors had performed a tracheotomy to keep his airways open and he was unconscious for some of his spell in hospital.
Tributes flowed immediately for the star, with Sir Elton John declaring himself to be in “deep shock”, and fellow ’80s icons, Duran Duran tweeted their grief.
A photo posted by Elton John (@eltonjohn) on
The new also stunned friend and recent collaborator Ricky Gervais.
RIP George Michael.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) December 25, 2016
George Michael’s greatest hits
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go – with Wham!, 1984
Freedom! 90, 1990