George Michael Was a Covert Philanthropist, Secretly Giving Millions to Charity

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It’s no secret that George Michael performed as part of Band Aid and Live Aid in the ’80s, which raised millions for Ethiopia, but since the pop star’s death on Christmas Day at the age of 53, the world has learned that during his lifetime Michael anonymously donated millions to charity.

Check out our remembrance of Michael through five music videos here, and the slew of celebrities and friends of Michael who have paid tribute via social media here

Childline, a UK-based charity for children’s services, received millions in donations from Michael over the years, though the singer declined any recognition. The organization’s founder, Esther Rantzen, has said, “For years now he has been the most extraordinarily generous philanthropist, giving money to Childline, but he was determined not to make his generosity public so no one outside the charity knew how much he gave to the nation’s most vulnerable children.”

It’s truly a shame that Michael died so young, as Rantzen says a concert in tribute to him was planned for the org’s 30th anniversary.

Richard Osman, a British TV personality and executive producer of the UK version of Deal or No Deal, has said Michael once gave a losing contestant the £15,000 she needed for IVF treatment, albeit anonymously.

Twitter user Emilyne Mondo mentioned after Michael’s passing that he used to volunteer at the same homeless shelter as her.

When Michael competed on a celebrity edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, gambling with charity money, he swore to repay any money he lost.

In 2006, as a special thank you for the nurses who cared for his mother, Michael held a special London concert for NHS nurses. Since then, he’s given away tons of free tickets to nurses.

Many weren’t aware that Michael charitably donated many of his royalties as well: number-one 1996 single “Jesus to a Child”; “Last Christmas / Everything She Wants,” to Ethiopian famine relief; “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” to the AIDS hospice London Lighthouse and the Rainbow Trust children’s charity.

In 2000, Michael bought the piano on which John Lennon composed “Imagine for £1.45 million from a private collector, then later donated it to the Beatles Story museum in Liverpool so it would stay in Lennon’s hometown forever.