By Ryan Velez
The sudden death of singer George Michael last December at the age of 53 was both a surprise and tragedy to many. On top of his musical career, Michael was known for working hard to try and improve the world he lived in, both through campaigning for LGBT rights as well as working with HIV/AIDS related charities. Celebrity Net Worth reports that following his passing, a new dimension of his generosity has been revealed: giving money to everyday people in need.
The stories of Michael’s giving spirit began to circulate shortly after his death. One tale that came out said that he once gave a £5,000 (about $6,240) tip to a barmaid because she was a student nurse who had taken a serious amount of debt. It also came out that he regularly performed free concerts for nurses at NHS, the hospital that treated his mother for cancer. It would appear that those with medical needs had a special spot in Michael’s heart. Host of the show Pointless Richard Osman once shared that a Deal Or No Deal contestant needed £15,000 (about $18,717) for medical treatment, and Michael secretly phoned in the next day to give her the money.
In addition to helping out people, Michael also championed organizations doing good work out in the world. One of his favorite charities was the Childline charity, which helps counsel kids that are dealing with things like mental illness, bullying, and abuse. On top of regular donations, he also donated all the proceeds from the 1996 song, “Jesus To A Child” to the organization. His one requirement? That the organization keeps his contributions anonymous.
Other charities he supported included Terrence Higgins Trust for HIV victims and Macmillan Cancer Support. One of the largest donations he may have made, though, was to Project Angel Food. This Los Angeles charity delivers meals to people living with critical conditions. Michael first supported the charity in 1990, when he first moved to Los Angeles.
“All of a sudden like a miracle, there was a brown envelope that appeared at our doorstep,” said Richard Ayoub, executive director at Project Angel Food. “Inside the envelope was a handwritten note from George saying, ‘Keep up what you’re doing. Love, George’ and a check for $25,000.'” To be so giving and also keep his generosity out of the spotlight only adds another dimension to a celebrity who was gone far too soon.