8 Acts of Generosity by George Michael Nobody Knew About
The star truly believed in helping people for the sake of making their lives better
George Michael, who passed away on December 25, 2016, at the far-too-young age of 53, was easily one of the most underappreciated musical geniuses of the past 35 years. The artist, songwriter, and overall icon had an uncanny ability to write heart-wrenching ballads tugging at our heartstrings while at the same time outputting sugary pop trifles and everything in between.
The English pop-icon left us with timeless classics such as Last Christmas, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Careless Whisper, and Freedom! '90. Apart from his musical legacy, Michael also left behind a momentous work of charity, most of which we are only hearing about now, as this musical giant was as humble as he was generous.
In celebration of George Michael's life behind the music, we put together some of the most inspiring accounts of his philantrophy, as told by the few people who knew.
1. HE SECRETLY VOLUNTEERED AT HOMELESS SHELTERS
One Twitter user revealed that the former Wham! member anonymously volunteered at a homeless shelter she helped out at herself, and had asked other volunteers to keep it a secret.
George Michael worked anonymously at a homeless shelter I was volunteering at. I've never told anyone, he asked we didn't. That's who he was— EMILYNE MONDO (@EmilyneMondo) December 26, 2016
2. HE DONATED $30,000 TO A STRANGER IN NEED
Another Twitter user told a story of how George Michael was once in a cafe where he overheard a woman who was crying because she was in debt. Michael wanted to help her, but keeping true to his style, wanted to do so anonymously. He gave the waitress a cheque for $30,000 to give to the woman after he left.
3. HE ANONYMOUSLY DONATED $18,000 FOR A WOMAN'S IVF TREATMENT
The slew of stories telling of Michael's charity was started by British TV presenter Richard Osman. When Osman worked as an executive producer on Deal or No Deal, a woman told the program that she needed $18,000 for IVF treatment. "George Michael secretly phoned the next day and gave her the [money]," Osman wrote.
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
4. HE ANONYMOUSLY DONATED MILLIONS TO CHILDLINE
George Michael donated all the royalties from his 1996 number one single Jesus To a Child to Childline, a free 24-hour counselling service for children and young people. Childline founder and president Dame Esther Rantzen revealed that Michael has given millions to the charity, but, as with all of his other charitable work, did want his donations to become public.
5. HE SINGLE-HANDEDLY KEPT A NUMBER OF SMALLER CHARITIES AFLOAT
One woman wrote on Twitter that she once spoke to someone working for a British charity, who told her that the only reason that the organization was able to survive was because of the generous donations of George Michael.
A lady from a children's charity once told me they were only still afloat because of George Michael ❤ https://t.co/W0vs3QxN1E— Kate Waugh (@katewaugh) December 26, 2016
Michael also gave away the royalties he earned for his 1991 duet with Elton John, Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me to Aids hospice London Lighthouse and the Rainbow Trust children's charity, and the royalties from Last Christmas/Everything She Wants went to Ethiopian famine relief.
6. HE SAVED AND DONATED JOHN LENNON'S PIANO
In 2000, John Lennon's piano - the one on which he composed 'Imagine' - was up for sale and Michael bought it for a whopping $1.78 million from a private collector to make sure that this piece of musical history would remain in the UK. But instead of keeping the piano to himself, he then donated it to the Beatles Story museum in Liverpool so that it could be remain in Lennon's hometown forever.
7. HE TIPPED A STRUGGLING WAITRESS $6,000
Welsh journalist, writer, and broadcaster Sali Hughes revealed on Twitter that the anonymous celebrity she once wrote about in one of her pieces was actually no other than George 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. Was George Michael. — Sali Hughes (@salihughes) December 26, 2016
8. HE INVITED COUNTLESS NURSES TO HIS CONCERTS FOR FREE
In 1997 Michael lost his mother to cancer. At the time he said of his mother that she was a "woman of great compassion", adding that "she felt much as I do, that we were living in a world that was gradually being drained of that."
10 years after her death he played a special free concert in north London for NHS nurses to thank them for the care they gave her and has invited nurses to many more of his other concerts.
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