Michael kept his charity work quiet while alive, but now the extent of his kindness is being shared.
The passing of pop icon George Michael has prompted an outpouring of grief from fans and fellow artists. But along with paying tribute to Michael’s musical legacy, people are also sharing stories of the singer’s incredible generosity and the secret acts of kindness he performed during his lifetime.
George Michael has been praised for his generosity, most of which he kept secret
‘Pointless’ presenter Richard Osman began on Twitter by sharing a story about Michael anonymously donating £15,000 to a woman he saw on ‘Deal or No Deal’ who needed the money for IVF treatment.
“A woman on 'Deal Or No Deal' told us she needed £15k for IVF treatment,” Osman, who worked as an executive producer on the show, tweeted. “George Michael secretly phoned the next day and gave her the £15k.”
A woman on 'Deal Or No Deal' told us she needed £15k for IVF treatment. George Michael secretly phoned the next day and gave her the £15k.— Richard Osman (@richardosman) December 26, 2016
In reply to Osman’s tweet, another user shared the story of how Michael once left a cheque for £25,000 in a cafe for a woman who he had seen crying over her debts. "@richardosman he gave a stranger in a cafe £25k as she was crying over debt,” user VectorVictoria wrote. “Told the waitress to give her the cheque after he left.”
Journalist Sali Hughes tweeted that a celebrity she had mentioned in an article who tipped a barmaid £5,000 because she was in debit was Michael. “I wrote in a piece ages ago about a celeb I'd worked with tipping a barmaid £5k because she was a student nurse in debt,” Hughes tweeted. “Was George Michael.”
George Michael was also the only star on HWTBAMillionaire who, when gambling all the charity's cash, said "if I lose it, I'll just pay it".— Sali Hughes (@salihughes) December 26, 2016
Michael also donated millions to charity Childline, but wished to keep his contributions anonymous. Speaking to the Press Association, Childline's founder and president Dame Esther Rantzen said: "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.
"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.”
The singer also supported numerous other charities, including the Terrence Higgins Trust. In a statement, the charity's Jane Barron said: “We are so saddened by the loss of George Michael. 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.”
His support for the LGBTQ community, the NHS and the miners marked George Michael out as an activist as well as a great artist. pic.twitter.com/tsKNp22Lr7— Billy Bragg (@billybragg) December 26, 2016
Lynda Thomas, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, also praised the singer’s generosity saying: “We are deeply saddened to hear about the death of George Michael who as a Macmillan Ambassador provided his committed support to us in a number of ways. We are extremely grateful to George and send our condolences to his family, friends and fans.”
Michael had lost his mother Lesley to cancer in 1997 and a decade after her passing he played a free concert for the NHS nurses who had cared for her. He would also give nurses free tickets to his shows, including once reserving a whole area of Wembley stadium for them.