2016 claims another star - Last Christmas

GEORGE MICHAEL has joined what seems an inordinately long list of premiership showbusiness personalities who died in 2016.

He died, on Christmas Day, of heart failure at the very early age of 53, four years younger than Prince who died in April.

Michael, born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in Finchley, London, will always be associated with what might be described as the Princess Diana era of British pop culture.

Next year marks the 30th anniversary of his debut solo album Faith which sold 25 million copies.

Michael was in some ways a paradox.

Much of his music was optimistic and joyful — inspiring happiness even if some of it challenged our hypocrisies.

Yet his personal life was sometimes a struggle and often difficult.

From the late 1990s he was embroiled in crises and clashes with the law over his drug use. He also became a champion for LGBT rights.

His last album, Symphonica in 2014, was his seventh solo album to top the UK charts, an exceptional statistic in an exceptional career.

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