George Michael's 10 most generous acts show why everyone adored him
2016 was a terrible year. Brexit happened, Donald Trump happened, and - amongst all that - some of our most-loved celebrities began dropping like flies. Gene Wilder, Alan Rickman and Carrie Fisher were all taken from us in those fateful twelve months, and we still miss them dearly.
However, since their passing, new stories have emerged about some of the stars - not least George Michael - who died aged 53 on Christmas day last year. While he was greatly appreciated during his life, some of his most selfless and admirable actions were not actually disclosed until after his death.
Here are just some of the wonderful things the former WHAM! singer did...
1. He paid for a woman's IVF treatment
After seeing an episode of Deal or No Deal in which a contestant said she needed the money to pay for IVF treatment, George Michael anonymously donated the funds the next day. The recipient, Lynette Gillard, did not find out who it was that gave her the money until the day after Michael died.
2. He set up a charity to help disabled people
Like many wealthy celebrities, Michael was generous with his money. However, unlike a lot of those people, he never felt the need to talk about it. Even though he faced his fair share of criticisms and low points during his life, not once did he try to justify his wrongs by bragging about his philanthropic deeds.
3. He helped with a nursing student's debt
As many of these stories show, Michael was always willing to help out whenever and wherever an opportunity arose. After hearing about a struggling student's debt problems, he gave her £5,000 without a second thought.
4. He also provided free entertainment for a ton of other nurses
To show his gratitude to the NHS (National Health Service in the UK) nurses who cared for his mother during the end of her life, Michael put on a free show for medical staff. Nobody asked him to do it. He just did.
5. And then did the same thing for hospital staff in Vienna
After suffering from pneumonia in 2011, Michael was nursed to recovery by hospital staff at the AKH hospital in Vienna. As a gesture of his thanks, he sent 1,000 free tickets to the people that worked there. At the gig, he said, ‘I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you first to the doctors and nurses who saved my life and took such great care of me and to all my fans, family and friends for their love and support.'
6. He worked at a homeless shelter
Even with access to all the luxuries that life could possibly offer, Michael chose to spend his time helping those who had next to nothing. Those who worked alongside him praised his selflessness, and revealed that he didn't want to be publicised for his generosity.
7. He saved a stranger from crippling debt
Much like the incident with the student nurse, Michael also stepped in to help somebody who was so worn down by debt worries that they were crying in a cafe. Luckily for them, the singer was also in that cafe, and he left a £25,000 cheque for them on his way out.
8. He supported LGBTQ+ charities
As well as donating gifts and financial aid to the Terrence Higgins Trust, which helps those who are HIV positive, Michael also gave the charity the royalties from a song he performed with Elton John. Michael himself had lost close friends and a former partner to the disease, so the cause meant a great deal to him.
9. He also donated the royalties from this classic tune
As well as contributing to Band Aid's 'Do They Know It’s Christmas', Michael donated the royalties from Last Christmas to the Ethiopian Famine Relief. The songs reached first and second position respectively on the UK charts, generating a great deal of money for those in need.
10. He promised £32,000 of his own money on Who Wants to be a Millionaire
Along with Ronan Keating, Michael competed on Who Wants to be a Millionaire in order to raise money for the children's charity, the Rainbow Trust. After the pair were uncertain of the answer to a question, Michael promised to make up for any lost funds if they got it wrong.
It is clear from this that George Michael truly was a wonderful, selfless person, and it's a tragedy that we lost him at such a young age. However, now we know these things about him, we can remember him for being a generous philanthropist as well as a talented musician.