“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,” a 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.”
Michael’s U.S. publicist told PEOPLE that the musician had died of heart failure.
Although the pop star’s health scares dogged his life in the past decades, It is understood that he passed away in his sleep at his Goring-on-Thames home on Sunday.
The star nearly died from pneumonia in late 2011 of which he received treatment in a Vienna hospital. In 2013 Michael had to be airlifted to hospital with a head injury after falling from his vehicle on the M1 near St Albans in Hertfordshire.
In 1987, he released his debut solo album, Faith, which sold over 25 million copies and catapulted him into success. During his almost four-decades of fame, the singer sold 100 million albums worldwide and garnered three American Music Awards, three Brit Awards and two Grammy Awards out of eight total nominations.