George Michael secretly gave couple £15,000 for IVF treatment
Singer died alone in bed, says partner Fadi Fawaz who found him on Christmas Day
A couple who spent years clueless about who gave them £15,000 (€17,600) to fund their fertility treatment have thanked George Michael after it was claimed he anonymously stumped up the money.
Confirmation of the 53-year-old star’s death on Christmas Day from suspected heart failure has prompted tales of his generous donations to charity and his volunteer work.
The singer’s generosity was often matched only by his desire to keep his identity secret, something Pointless presenter and former Deal Or No Deal executive producer Richard Osman alluded to when he recounted one such demonstration of Michael’s goodwill.
Within hours of Michael’s death from suspected heart failure, Osman told his Twitter followers: “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.”
It was later claimed that Lynette Gillard (38) from Bolton, was the recipient of the money when her partner Steve Davies went on the show in 2008 but did not win enough to fund the treatment outright.
She told the Daily 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.”
Meanwhile, Michael’s partner Fadi Fawaz has said he found the star dead in bed when he arrived to wake him ahead of a planned Christmas Day lunch.
He told the Daily Telegraph: “I went round there to wake him up and he was just gone, lying peacefully in bed. We don’t know what happened yet.
“Everything had been very complicated recently, but 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.”
Michael’s former partner Kenny Goss described the star as a “beautiful person” and a “kind and generous man”, and said he was devastated at the death, which is being treated by police as “unexplained but not suspicious”.
Michael officially announced in 2011 that his 15-year relationship with Goss had ended – but said the pair had actually split around two years earlier.
In a statement Goss said: “I’m heartbroken with the news that my dear friend and long-time love George Michael has passed.
“He was a major part of my life and I loved him very, very much. He was an extremely kind and generous man.
“The beautiful memories and music he brought to the world will always be an important part of my life and those who also loved and admired him.”
Michael’s manager Michael Lippman said it was believed he had died from heart failure, while his publicist said he “passed away peacefully at home”.
The singer – whose real name was Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou – sold more than 100 million albums throughout his career.
Michael’s former Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley said he was “heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend Yog”, an affectionate nickname used for the star.
He said: “Me, his loved ones, his friends, the world of music, the world at large. 4ever loved. A xx.”
Spandau Ballet star Martin Kemp and his wife Shirlie – a backing singer for Wham! with her musical partner Helen “Pepsi” DeMacque as part of the act Pepsi & Shirlie – said they were left devastated.
Michael formed Wham! with Ridgeley in 1981, and went on to massive success, releasing a string of hit singles including Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do), Club Tropicana and Wake Me Up Before You Go Go.
They were the first Western pop act to visit China when they played there in 1985, before splitting in 1986, by which time Michael had already released a handful of solo singles.
Fans and neighbours gathered at his homes in Highgate, north London and Goring-on-Thames in Oxfordshire to pay tribute to an artist they described as a “huge inspiration”.
Michael, whose brushes with the law and tales of drug use saw him hit the headlines, nearly died from pneumonia in late 2011. After receiving treatment in a Vienna hospital, he made a tearful appearance outside his London home and said it had been “touch and go”.
Michael’s 1990 album Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 had been set to be reissued, accompanied by a new film featuring Stevie Wonder, Elton John and the supermodels who starred in the video to his hit single Freedom! ‘90.
An appeal for archive footage and imagery from fans including “mass Wham! hysteria” was made on Michael’s website in August, with a post on his official Facebook page saying: “George is personally seeking rare Wham! & George Michael photos and video and we need your help!” –(PA)