George Michael’s philanthropy comes to light after his death – BBC News
Tales of George Michael’s philanthropy have come to light in the wake of his death – including how he funded a couple’s IVF treatment.
Former Deal or No Deal producer Richard Osman, who now co-presents Pointless, told how one contestant’s partner had said she needed 15,000 for treatment.
The next day the singer phoned in to donate the money, Osman tweeted.
Family and friends were touched “beyond words” by the “outpouring of love” from Michael’s fans, his publicist said.
Other stories of the star’s benevolence, including a 50,000 Sport Relief donation, have emerged on social media.
In a string of tweets celebrating the singer’s music and humour, comedian and author David Walliams tweeted that the star had supported his 2006 cross-Channel swim to the tune of 50,000.
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Osman tweeted in the hours following news that Michael had been found dead at his home in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, on Christmas Day, aged 53.
The presenter 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.”
The beneficiary was later reported to be Lynette Gillard, 38, from Bolton, whose partner Steve Davies had appeared on the show in 2008.
‘Restores your faith’
She told the Telegraph: “For many years I wondered who would have been so generous and now I know. What more can I say other than ‘Thank you George’.”
At the time, in 2008, Mr Davies had told the Manchester Evening News: “Thank you is not enough. It restores your faith in humankind.
“All the bad news you read about and then something like this happens.”
Michael’s donations ranged in scope from major charities and appeals to individual acts of kindness.
The proceeds from sales of Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me, his 1991 live duet with Sir Elton John, were donated to HIV and children’s charities, including the Terence Higgins Trust.
It tweeted: “Thank you to George Michael for all he did for the LGBT community and to educate about HIV. RIP George.”
Wham! royalties from Last Christmas went to Ethiopian famine relief efforts, while the founder of the children’s helpline charity Childline, Dame Esther Rantzen, said Michael had donated proceeds from the song Jesus to a Child to the cause.
Children’s charities were also at the fore when he donated each year to Capital Radio’s appeal.
Former presenter Mick Brown tweeted: “Every Easter at Capital when I was on air with Chris Tarrant for help a London child, George would call in at 3.30pm with a 100,000 donation.”
He also suffered the loss of his mother to cancer in 1997 and in 2006 played a special, free concert at the Roundhouse in Camden, north London, for NHS nurses to thank them for their care.
And he gave his time to Macmillan Cancer Support as one of their ambassadors.
Alongside major charities, individuals on Twitter shared their accounts of his kindness.
Journalist Sali Hughes said: “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.”
And Emilyne Mondo said he had worked anonymously at a homeless shelter where she volunteered.
Michael’s partner Fadi Fawaz, says he found the singer dead when he went to his home in Goring on Christmas Day.
He told the Telegraph: “We were supposed to be going for Christmas lunch.
“I went round there to wake him up and he was just gone, lying peacefully in bed. We don’t know what happened yet.
Climbing the charts
“George was looking forward to Christmas, and so was I. Now everything is ruined.
“I want people to remember him the way he was – he was a beautiful person.”
Meanwhile, Michael’s albums and singles have been climbing the charts since his death.
On iTunes, Ladies & Gentlemen became the number one album and Careless Whisper went to 12 in the singles chart.