Saturday 23 September 2017

George Michael donated huge sums to charity - but kept it very low-key

Singer George Michael poses at the
Singer George Michael poses at the "George Michael: A Different Story" Photocall during the 55th annual Berlinale International Film Festival on February 16, 2005 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Behind the headlines and huge on-stage persona, George Michael was a generous man who kept quiet about his considerable charitable donations, it has emerged.

The star donated royalties from some of his biggest selling singles and is said to have given a gameshow contestant thousands of pounds to fund her IVF treatment.

Michael has helped countless children as a result of his donations to Childline and also supported other organisations including the Terrence Higgins Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Michael, who spoke about losing his partner Anselmo Feleppa to HIV, "personally supported" the Terrence Higgins Trust for "many years", Jane Barron from the organisation said.

"We are so saddened by the loss of George Michael," she added.

"George also often thought of us to kindly donate experiences and gifts that were used to raise vital funds to help us support people living with HIV.

"Along with other charities, we were grateful to benefit from the royalties of George's 1991 duet with Elton John, Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me.

"His donations contributed to a vision of a world where people living with HIV live healthy lives free from prejudice and discrimination.

"Thanks to George's legacy, we are a step closer to that world and we are so grateful for his support and friendship over the years.

"Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this difficult time."

Childline founder and president Dame Esther Rantzen revealed to the Press Association that his generosity also extended to other causes.

"For years now he has been the most extraordinarily generous philanthropist, giving money to Childline, but he was determined not to make his generosity public so no-one outside the charity knew how much he gave to the nation's most vulnerable children," she said.

"Over the years he gave us millions and we were planning next year, as part of our 30th anniversary celebrations to create, we hoped, a big concert in tribute to him - to his artistry, to his wonderful musicality but also to thank him for the 100s of 1,000s of children he helped through supporting Childline.

"And it is particularly tragic that Christmas, which was when he released Jesus to a Child, would also be the time when we lost him.

"I think all of us have memories of particular Wham! songs and George Michael songs which mean a great deal to us.

"Certainly, for Britain's children, George Michael meant so much more."

Earlier today, Richard Osman, host of the television programme 'Deal or no deal', tweeted that a woman on one episode of the show said that she needed £15,000 for IVF treatment.

"George Michael secretly phoned the next day and gave her the £15k," he said.

Meanwhile, it has also emerged that the singer once sent free tickets to hospital workers after they treated him for pneumonia.

he gave 1,000 free tickets to staff at the AKH hospital in Vienna, Austria, after he fell ill with pneumonia in 2011.

He was forced to cancel a series of shows when he was diagnosed with the illness, but rescheduled 19 gigs across Europe.

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