Singer George Michael has died at his home at the age of 53 from heart failure. The star, launched his career with Andrew Ridgeley in Wham! in the 1980s and had huge success as a solo performer, Michael's publicist said he"passed away peacefully" on Christmas Day in Goring, Oxfordshire. Former Wham! bandmate Ridgeley said he was "heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend". Despite long term bouts of depression, lurid tabloid headlines and a well publicised battle with drugs, Michael remained a major talent, an outstanding performer and a superb songwriter. Michael spent most of 1987 writing and recording his first solo album, Faith, which was released in the autumn of that year. It went to the top of both the UK and US charts going on to sell more than 25 million copies and winning a Grammy in 1989. Michael refused to promote his second album, Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 and no videos were made to back up the single releases. A much more introspective work than Faith, the album was aimed at a more adult audience. While playing a concert in Rio in 1991 he met Anselmo Feleppa, the man who would become his partner. Their relationship was to be short-lived as Feleppa died of a brain haemorrhage in 1993. In November 1994, Michael released the single, Jesus to a Child, a tribute to Feleppa. It went straight to No 1 in the UK. The single featured on the Older album, which had been three years in the making when it was released in 1996 after a long legal battle with his then record label, Sony. Michael also entered a long term relationship with businessman Kenny Goss which ended a decade later. He released Patience in 2004, and in 2006 he set off on his first live tour for 15 years and became the first artist to perform at the newly reopened Wembley Stadium. Amongst the many awards, Michael was voted Best British Male at the Brit Awards and won the title Songwriter of the Year for the third time at the Ivor Novello awards in 1996.
The Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt has died aged 68. The veteran rocker passed away in Spain, following a huge heart attack earlier in the year. The band’s statement on their website reveals that he died in hospital from an infection, having been admitted to hospital. He was suffering complications to a shoulder injury incurred by a previous fall. Status Quo are about to celebrate their 50th anniversary. In half a century, the band has notched up a record-breaking 65 UK chart hits, sold more than 120 million records, created its own beer and spent 415 weeks in the chart.
Craig Gill, the drummer with the Inspiral Carpets, has died suddenly aged just 44. Part of the 'Madchester' scene the band had 11 top 40 albums and 3 top 5 albums between 1990 and 1994. Liam Gallagher was one of the first to post a tribute on social media. He leaves a widow Rose and three young children.
Greg Lake, frontman of King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, has died at the age of 69. The legendary music veteran was renowned as one of the forefathers of prog-rock, made famous for his string of adventurous albums and tracks such as ‘Court of the Crimson King’ and ’21st Century Schizoid Man’. He passed away following “a long and stubborn battle with cancer”.
Cash Askew, aged just 22, has died in the Ghost Ship blaze. An Oakland resident, Cash was well known for her band Them Are Us Too, an emerging goth duo who launched their first album with Dais Record. Another victim of the blaze was Chelsea Dolan, a San Francisco resident, who performed under the stage name Cherushii. She was also a volunteer DJ at the local KALX community radio station. Her mother, Colleen Dolan, wrote in a tribute on Facebook, “Chelsea Faith has always been an extraordinary person, full of exuberant joy. Her personality, intelligence, clothes, music, and kindness were legendary.” Two other the victims of the fire were also due to perform that night - Obsidian Blade (Joey Casio) and DJ Nackt (Johnny Igaz).
Bob Krasnow, the record executive best known for building Blue Thumb, has died in Florida. He was 81. Krasnow worked at Warner Bros Records for nine years before being moved over to chairman and CEO of Elektra from 1983 to 1994, making the label an industry leader, ushering in its second golden era with signings ranging from Metallica, Motley Crue, Simply Red The, Cure, Anita Baker, Teddy Pendergrass and Natalie Cole. The T.J. Martell Foundation named him Cancer Research Man of the Year in 1984 and 1989; he received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 1992.