George Michael autopsy inconclusive | News | DW | 30.12.2016
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George Michael autopsy inconclusive

Doctors have been unable to determine the pop sensation's cause of death after initial tests. Police said it may take weeks to learn what killed the singer who suffered from bouts of poor health and substance abuse.

Doctors were unable to determine the cause of death for pop icon George Michael in the initial postmortem examination, authorities said on Friday. Thames Valley police said it will take more tests to find out what killed the 53-year-old.

"The cause of death is inconclusive and further tests will now be carried out. The results of these tests are unlikely to be known for several weeks," read a police statement, adding that the star's passing was "unexplained but not suspicious."

Manager Michael Lippman told Billboard Magazine that the apparent cause of death may have been heart failure, and his publicist has said that George Michael "passed away peacefully at home," on Christmas Day.

The singer's death has prompted widespread tributes from fans and other musicians, bringing to light many stories of Michael's quiet but impressive generosity. His family has said they were "touched beyond words" by the outpouring of grief and support, from the fans who have left candles and messages outside his home in London, to praise for Michael from fellow stars like Madonna and Elton John.

Pop star, activist, philanthrophist

Born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in London in 1963, Michael formed the pop duo Wham! with his high school friend Andrew Ridgeley in 1981. After making it big with hits like "Last Christmas" and "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," Michael came out as gay in the late 90s and became a major campaigner for LGBT rights.

After his passing, recipients of his largesse began sharing stories of his generous, and sometimes anonymous, donations to charities for children and people living with HIV.

Despite his many successes, Michael also struggled with substance abuse and was arrested several times for possession of cannabis and crack cocaine. In 2010, he was sentenced to two months in jail after he crashed a vehicle into a London shop while high on cannabis and prescription drugs. He also suffered from a virulent bout of pneumonia in 2011 that landed him in the hospital for several weeks.

es/kms (AFP, AP)

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