George Michael: The Part of His Life He Fought to Hide

It’s been three years since superstar George Michael died on Christmas Day 2016. His death made hearing his hit song, Last Christmas, even more poignant every Christmas since then. His passing, at the age of 53, happened far too soon, shocking the world at the time.

George Michael
George Michael | Michael Putland/Getty Images

Find out what Michael kept hidden from the rest of the world as much as possible and why.

His death shocked the world

When Michael was discovered dead by his partner, Fadi Fawaz, in 2016, it stunned a world that simply wasn’t expecting such news during the holiday season. His death, according to the coroner, was due to heart disease.

“Inquiries into the death of George Michael have been concluded and the final post-mortem report received,” the Oxfordshire coroner stated. “As there is a confirmed natural cause of death, being dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and fatty liver, the investigation is being discontinued and there is no need for an inquest or any further enquiries.”

George Michael, 2013
George Michael | ANT/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

A year after Michael’s passing, Fawaz spoke to The Mirror to express relief that the truth that his partner had died of natural causes was now public. Fawaz had felt vilified and blamed for Michael’s death

“George can rest in peace now. I am happy now he can rest, and we can rest as well. I am sure George is happy, now that everything is out. We can move forward. Now I can celebrate the life, the love we had, and move on as one,” Fawaz said in 2017. “It was really painful to feel I was doubted. But now it is all good. I am happy the truth is out. It has been really tough and upsetting, and shocking two-and-a-half months.”

The fortune he left behind

At the time of his death, Michael, whose real name was Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, was worth $200 million, the bulk of which went to his sisters, Yioda and Melanie – the latter of whom, sadly, died on Christmas Day 2019, three years to the day after her brother’s death.

George Michael in 2010
George Michael | Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Fawaz had been in a battle over Michael’s will with the Faith singer’s siblings since his partner’s death and was reportedly removed by force from Michael’s home in July of 2019.

Michael’s family urged Fawaz to get mental health treatment as it seemed his social media posts were becoming more and more muddled and incoherent. In the end, Fawaz did not leave Michael’s home peaceably, causing damage to nearly every room in the $6 million estate.

The secret Michael kept from the world

The Careless Whisper singer worked hard at keeping his considerable charitable donations and interests away from the public eye. It was important to him that his gifts and donations were kept private.

He donated his royalties from the 1991 duet with Elton John, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me, to the Terrence Higgins Trust, an HIV-awareness organization.

George Michael, 1984
George Michael | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

And Michael made sure his royalties from Jesus to a Child were given entirely to Childline, a UK phone counseling service for children up until the age of 19. Their website describes the service as “a free, private and confidential service where you can talk about anything. Whatever your worry, whenever you need help, we’re here for you online, on the phone, anytime.”

Richard Osman, executive producer for the game show, Deal or No Deal, tweeted after Michael’s passing about the singer’s generosity. Osman stated that the singer once, upon hearing that a contestant was playing to pay for in vitro fertilization treatment, donated exactly what she needed for the medical procedure.

The superstar’s compassion is just another reason to admire – and miss – George Michael even more.