George Michael didn’t come out until 1998, and when he did it was global news.
The popstar, who had become famous in the 80s with Wham, concealed his sexuality for much of his career.
Although he’s reported as being openly gay in his private life from the age of 19, he didn’t share the fact with the world until much later.
The star set-up by a cop who caught him in the act of soliciting sex at a public toilets.
It was a major scandal at the time – but George Michael rode it out.
He wrote the song Outside poking fun at his own situation.
He then came out officially – having been outed by the sting operation – in an interview with CNN.
Watch the moving interview below.
The star died Christmas day at his home in Oxfordshire, England.
He was found “lying peacefully”, after a heart failure, his manager has said.
Thames Valley Police said the star’s death was “unexplained but not suspicious.”
His long-time manager Michael Lippman has spoken out to say he is “devastated” by Michael’s death.
He said he received a phone call on Sunday morning telling him that Michael had been found “in bed, lying peacefully”.
Lippman tells the Hollywood Reporter that there was “no fould play whatsoever”, but that Michael’s death from heart failure was unexpected.
Funeral plans for the star are expected to be announced soon.
Cindi Berger, Michael’s publicist, issued the following statement:
“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.
“The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage.”
“Thames Valley Police were called to a property in Goring-on-Thames shortly before 2 p.m. [9 a.m. EST] Christmas Day. Sadly, a 53-year-old man was confirmed deceased at the scene. At this stage the death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious. A post mortem will be undertaken in due course.
There will be no further updates from Thames Valley Police until the post mortem has taken place,” a police statement said.
Back in 2011, the star suffered from pneumonia, cancelling some dates of a tour.
Last year Michael denied allegations made in a Sunday newspaper that he is addicted to crack cocaine.
The allegations were made by Jackie Georgiou, the wife of George’s cousin. She told the tabloid that Michael had been smoking crack before he checked in to a Swiss rehab clinic.
This is not the first time stories regarding the singer’s private life have been sold to the press – in May, a former prison officer who sold “salacious gossip” about inmates including Michael was jailed for 10 months.
Princess Diana came close to accidentally revealing that George Michael is gay before he publicly came out, according to a former royal aide’s autobiography.