George Michael died of natural causes, says coroner

Michael's funeral can finally take place after three months of tests. He died at his home on Christmas Day.
Michael's funeral can finally take place after three months of tests. He died at his home on Christmas Day.

LONDON • British pop icon George Michael who was found dead at his home on Christmas Day, died of natural causes, a coroner announced.

The cause of death was dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and fatty liver, according to Mr Darren Salter, senior coroner for Oxfordshire. The investigation is now closed with no need for an inquest, he added yesterday.

An initial post-mortem examination on the 53-year-old, who enjoyed a 35-year career punctuated by years of drug-taking, proved "inconclusive" pending further tests.

Dilated cardiomyopathy, which can be caused by substance abuse, affects the heart's ability to pump blood due to the muscle becoming enlarged and weakened.

Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart's wall.

Michael's partner Fadi Fawaz said he had found the star "lying peacefully" in bed at his home in the village of Goring.

The singer's funeral can now take place after three months of tests.

Michael's publicist had been keen to quell reports of foul play, saying "there were no suspicious circumstances".

Born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou to a Greek Cypriot father and English mother in north London in 1963, Michael shot to fame with the band Wham! and sold more than 100 million records in his career.

He met Andrew Ridgeley at high school and the pair went on to form Wham! in 1981.

With their good looks and carefree image, the duo captured the spirit of the 1980s and fast became one of Britain's biggest pop acts with a string of hits, including Last Christmas and Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.

Michael notched up police cautions for cannabis and cocaine possession in his final years.

In 2010, he was sentenced to eight weeks in jail after crashing his car into a London shop while under the influence of cannabis and prescription medication.

In 2011, he spent several weeks in hospital in Vienna after contracting pneumonia while on tour, later saying he had come close to death.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2017, with the headline 'George Michael died of natural causes, says coroner'. Print Edition | Subscribe