Entertainment Celebrity Tributes flow for George Michael as his secret generosity to charities emerges

Tributes flow for George Michael as his secret generosity to charities emerges

George Michael tributes
A floral tribute at George Michael's home in Oxfordshire where the pop star was found dead in December. Photo: AAP
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Grieving fans mourning the death of George Michael have spent the day laying floral tributes at his homes in north London and in Goring, England, where he died of apparent heart failure.

The official cause of the 53-year-old’s death has not been announced and his funeral arrangements are yet to be made public.

Fans who visited the singer’s homes also placed candles, photos and CDs to remember a man who British charities have revealed had secretly been a major behind-the-scenes donor who gave time and money to charity.

The man with the reputation for self-indulgence had actually given millions of dollars to charities involved with helping children, cancer victims and AIDS sufferers.

Watch George Michael’s Comic Relief carpool karaoke

He was also remembered for small acts of kindness: helping his village in north London get a Christmas tree, and volunteering at a homeless shelter.

It has also been revealed that Michael once made an anonymous donation to a woman who had gone on game show Deal or No Deal  hoping to win £15,000 ($A26,000) to pay for IVF treatment.

The game show’s former producer Richard Osman confirmed the gesture on Twitter that when the woman fell short, Michael kicked in.

Among the groups he supported were the Terrence Higgins Trust, which helps people with AIDS, Macmillan Cancer Support, and Childline, which offers confidential phone counselling for young people.

Childline founder Esther Rantzen said Michael gave royalties from his 1996 hit Jesus To A Child to the charity along with many other donations.

“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 hundreds of thousands of children he helped,” she said.

She said Michael was determined that no one outside the charity should know “how much he gave to the nation’s most vulnerable children”.

Jane Barron from the Terrence Higgins Trust said Michael made many donations and gifts, including the royalties of his Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me duet with Elton John in 1991.

George Michael had spoken publicly about the pain of losing a partner to AIDS early in the epidemic, but he kept his long history of donations to the trust private.

Michael’s later years were marked by occasional brushes with the law and a series of driving incidents related to substance abuse, but another side emerged Monday as top charity figures stepped forward to thank Michael for years of donations and good works.

– with agencies

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