George Michael, a global pop icon, left the world in shock with his sudden demise on Christmas Day in 2016. But how did George Michael die? This question has been a topic of intrigue, speculation, and sorrow for fans around the world. This article delves deep into the multifaceted aspects of Careless Whisper singer’s life, his struggles, his passing, and the legacy he left behind.
George Michael: A Retrospective
Born as Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, George Michael became a household name in the 1980s. He first gained fame as a part of the pop duo Wham!, alongside his childhood friend, Andrew Ridgeley. Their albums, such as Fantastic and Make It Big, topped the charts worldwide, giving birth to hit singles like “Wham! Rap”, “Club Tropicana”, “Everything She Wants”, and “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”.
After Wham! disbanded, Michael embarked on his solo journey, which was marked by chart-topping albums like Faith. His songs, including “Careless Whisper,” “Freedom! ’90,” and “Fast Love,” are still celebrated as pop classics. However, his soaring career was often overshadowed by his personal struggles, legal issues, and health challenges.
He has won the Grammy Award seven times, including awards for Best Album, Music Video, Traditional Pop Vocal Album, and more.
The Undercurrents Of Struggle
George Michael’s life was as complex as his music. His personal life was marred by several devastating events, including the loss of his first love, Anselmo Feleppa, in 1993 due to an AIDS-related illness. This loss was followed by the passing of his mother, Lesley Angold Panayiotou, plunging him into what he described as “the darkest times of his life”.
Complications further escalated when Michael found himself in a legal battle with his record label. In 1998, his arrest in a Beverly Hills park led to his public outing. His subsequent years were filled with legal challenges associated with drug possession and impaired driving, eventually leading to a stint in jail.
However, despite his struggles, Michael’s generosity and philanthropy were well-known. Friends and family hoped that he would be remembered not for his troubles but for his big heart. His former partner, Kenny Goss, remarked, “‘Who needs to be a damn billionaire when people are starving?…His philosophy was if he didn’t have the cash to help the hospitals, he’d say, ‘Borrow the damn money. I can always make more money. I’m a talented man.'”
The Day That Shook The World
Michael was found lifeless at his home in Goring-on-Thames, England, on December 25, 2016. His then-boyfriend, Fadi Fawaz, discovered his body. Fawaz’s desperate attempts to revive Michael were unsuccessful, leading him to make a distressing 911 call. In his words, Michael was “cold” and “blue” and seemed “beyond help.”
The Cause Of Death: Unveiling The Mystery
The days following George Michael’s death were filled with uncertainty. The initial autopsy results were inconclusive, leading to widespread speculation about the cause of Michael’s death. The Thames Valley police had stated that his death was “unexplained but not suspicious.”
However, after extensive additional testing, it was determined that Michael’s death was due to natural causes. Specifically, he had been suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and fatty liver. According to the Mayo Clinic, dilated cardiomyopathy is a heart disease characterized by the left ventricle’s inability to pump blood effectively, leading to heart failure. Myocarditis, on the other hand, is an inflammation of the heart usually triggered by a viral infection. Fatty liver disease refers to the accumulation of fat in the liver, often associated with alcoholism, obesity, and diabetes.
Speculation And Controversy: The Aftermath Of Michael’s Death
In the months following Michael’s death, the public raised suspicions about the cause. Some fans suspected Michael’s history of drug usage. Indeed, Michael had previously admitted to smoking crack cocaine and marijuana, leading to his arrest in 2008 for drug possession. His childhood friend, Andros Georgiou, expressed his belief that hard drugs were back in Michael’s life and were the cause of his death. He even speculated that Fawaz had something to do with Michael’s demise.
In addition to the drug-related theories, there were also speculations that Michael may have committed suicide. This speculation was fueled by a series of tweets from Fawaz’s account, claiming that Michael had attempted suicide multiple times. Fawaz, however, later stated that his account had been hacked and he had not sent those tweets.
However, all speculation ceased when it was finally confirmed in March 2017 that Michael had died from natural causes.
The Legacy Of George Michael
Singer George Michael’s death was met with an outpouring of love and tribute from fans, friends, and fellow celebrities. His publicist expressed gratitude for the love from fans, stating, “For someone whose life was ultimately about his music and the love he had for his family and friends, his fans and the world at large, there could be no more fitting tribute.”
Beyond his music, Michael’s legacy also includes his secret acts of philanthropy. He was known for his anonymous donations to various charities, free concerts for nurses, and support to struggling mothers. His generous nature was highlighted in numerous instances, such as when he anonymously funded a woman’s IVF treatment after hearing about her struggle with fertility on a talk show.
In 2023, George Michael was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, further cementing his place in music history.
Born in North London, United Kingdom, George remains one of the best-selling musicians of all-time.
So, how did George Michael die? While his death was ultimately due to natural causes, the circumstances surrounding it were far from ordinary. His life was a tapestry of immense talent, personal struggles, generosity, and resilience. Despite the controversies and challenges, George Michael’s legacy continues to touch hearts worldwide, proving that his music and spirit live on, transcending the boundaries of time and space.