‘That’s who he was’: George Michael’s quiet generosity celebrated by those who knew him
Celebrities and friends are telling stories to celebrate the life of beloved musician George Michael in the wake of his death. Yet, few knew of his charity work that went beyond financial contributions or benefit concerts.
Throughout his life, Michael quietly contributed acts of kindness unknown to the public or his fans, the Independent reported.
“George Michael worked anonymously at a homeless shelter I was volunteering at. I’ve never told anyone, he asked we didn’t. That’s who he was,” activist Emilyne Mondo tweeted.
George Michael worked anonymously at a homeless shelter I was volunteering at. I've never told anyone, he asked we didn't. That's who he was
— EMILYNE MONDO (@EmilyneMondo) December 26, 2016
Mondo said she believes Michael sought anonymity “to avoid press intrusion,” which is impossible now.
It is my belief that the reason for anonymity was to avoid press intrusion. This obviously can't happen now. (2)
— EMILYNE MONDO (@EmilyneMondo) December 27, 2016
“As usual, there are a lot of stories about the controversy and difficult times he had,” she continued. “The story is a real account of a generous human.”
Mondo has received backlash from the internet, questioning the validity of her claims. She tweeted Tuesday that she’s not looking for attention or money for her story. She has only spoken to the BBC to verify the story.
“I’m interested in people who are brave enough to live their best lives. To be bold and stand up for what is right,” she tweeted. “People who are [sic] so free that they liberate others. George Michael, Bowie, Prince all did this – we should focus on this, this fearlessness.”
This wasn’t his only secret act of kindness. After seeing a woman on the game show Deal or No Deal that was trying to win money for IVF treatments, Michael quietly donated the money to her. He’s also reported to have tipped a server at a bar £5,000 because she owed medical debt. He was also known to donate concert tickets to NHS nurses throughout the years.
@EmilyneMondo Also donated a lot of cash to Children's dental care in Africa, in excess of £100,000 each summer
— Gary Parker (@gp6970) December 26, 2016
Michael was also known for donating his royalties from hit records to charities including Childline, Macmillan Cancer Support and the Terrence Higgins Trust.
Tabloids and news have focused on his very public coming out story and sexual encounters and largely neglected the ways in which the star gave back.
Michael was found unresponsive on Christmas day by his partner Fadi Fawaz and was later pronounced dead.