What REALLY Happened To George Michael

The day that George Michael died, the world lost one of its best musical artists.
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After the death of a beloved celebrity, you’ll usually find fans grieving or posting tributes. Occasionally, especially if the death was sudden and unexpected, you’ll also find conspiracy theories about why and how these celebrities died.

Such was the case when British singer George Michael died.

Fans all over the world (including a few fellow celebrities) mourned the loss of the pop star, but there were also speculations there was more to his death than  the public was led to believe.

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Who Is George Michael?

George Michael was an English singer, songwriter, producer, and philanthropist. He became a household name in the ‘80s as one-half of the popular duo Wham!, with hits such as “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, “Last Christmas”, and “Careless Whisper”. Michael then embarked on a solo career, producing singles like “Faith”, “Praying for Time”, and “Freedom ‘90”. In his 35-year career, he sold more than a million records, making him one of the top best-selling artists in music history.

Aside from his music, Michael was also a prominent LGBTQ+ rights activist and philanthropist. Proceeds from his singles have gone to multiple charities for AIDS awareness, education, children’s health, and more. He has also donated money to two women who needed IVF treatment and one woman who was in debt.

A portrait of George Michael
George Michael was beloved pop culture icon since the eighties. (Credit: Getty)

What Were George Michael’s Biggest Career Moments?

George Michael’s first major musical milestone came in 1981 when Wham!’s debut album, Fantastic, reached the top spot on the UK charts with multiple top 10 hit singles.

Their next album, Make It Big, was even more successful and produced some of the band’s greatest hits – including “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” – allowing them to reach #1 not just in the UK, but in the United States and dozens of other countries as well.

Michael’s solo career was similarly celebrated, and his first hit outside of Wham! was a duet with Aretha Franklin entitled “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)”.

His debut album as a solo artist, Faith, is considered one of the greatest pop albums of the decade, and his 1990 album Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 cemented Michael as a serious singer-songwriter.

In the late ‘80s, Michael started getting more critical recognition for his work. He received the Best British Male Solo Artist award at the 1988 Brit Awards, the Album of the Year Award at the 1989 Grammys, and the Video Vanguard Award at the MTV Video Music Awards later that year.

George Michael & Andrew Ridgely of WHAM! Performing on stage
George Michael (right) as one half of Wham! (Credit: Getty)

George Michael’s Death

When Did George Michael Die?

Date of death: December 25, 2016

The internationally-renowned singer was found dead in his home in Goring, Oxfordshire on Christmas morning in 2016. His body was discovered by his long-time partner, Aussie celebrity hairdresser Fadi Fawaz. Michael was only 53 years old. 

How Did George Michael Die?

Although he died in December 2016, it took a few months to complete the autopsy and investigation into Michael’s sudden passing. In March 2017, the Oxfordshire senior coroner determined that George Michael’s cause of death was dilated cardiomyopathy (a condition where the heart becomes too large and cannot pump blood effectively) combined with an inflammation of the heart.

Michael also had a fatty liver, which could be attributed to a variety of causes, including alcohol and substance abuse – something which the singer had struggled with in the past. His last photos were taken a few months before his death, with him looking ‘tired’ and ‘bloated’, according to reports.

Was There Any Controversy Surrounding George Michael’s Death?

The coroner’s report showed that Michael died from natural causes, although some friends and fans speculated that there was more to it than that. 

Later tweets by Fawaz implied that George Michael may have committed suicide and pointed to his previous attempts as proof. However, Fawaz later distanced himself from those claims and said he was hacked. Long-time friend Elton John also revealed that while Michael was alive, he was ‘deeply unhappy’ and ‘didn’t want to live’.

Michael’s family and estate have since insisted that those rumours are false but refused to reveal the autopsy results to the public. 

How Did The Public React To The News?

As one of the most famous pop stars of the ‘80s and ‘90s, George Michael’s death was both shocking and sad for the world. Fans grieved outside his home, even setting up – and, to this day, maintaining – an informal memorial for Michael.

Fellow celebs and musicians paid tribute to the musical legend, including Elton John, Adele, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, and his long-time Wham! Collaborator, Andrew Ridgeley.

More recently, the Emilia Clarke film Last Christmas borrows its title from the artist’s hit single, and its soundtrack is full of Wham! and George Michael songs.

A shrine setup to singer George Michael
Tributes for George Michael (Credit: Getty)

George Michael’s Last Christmas

One of Wham!’s biggest enduring hits is the Christmas anthem, “Last Christmas”.

Upon Michael’s death, many pointed out the tragedy of the singer/songwriter’s date of passing.

It is tragic that George Michael died relatively young, and on Christmas to boot.

But his legacy lives on – and we’ll always have his music to remember him by.

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