Since the news of George Michael’s passing on Christmas Day first broke, tributes have been flooding the internet from all over the world.
But among the most heartwarming responses have been a series of anecdotes regarding the star’s extraordinary generosity, stories that he strived to keep secret during his lifetime.
The day following Michael’s death, it emerged that the singer had once been so moved by a woman on a British TV quiz show saying she was competing to raise £15,000 for fertility treatment that he paid for it himself.
TV host Richard Osman tweeted: “A woman on ‘Deal or No Deal’ told us she needed £15k for IVF treatment. George Michael secretly phoned the next day and gave her the £15k.”
A woman on ‘Deal Or No Deal’ told us she needed £15k for IVF treatment. George Michael secretly phoned the next day and gave her the £15k.
— Richard Osman (@richardosman) December 26, 2016
This story was soon followed by another claiming that after seeing a woman weeping in cafe over her debt levels, Michael gave the waitress a check for £25,000 with the request that she give it to her after he had left.
It also emerged that Michael volunteered at a homeless shelter but asked staff that they keep it a secret.
“I’ve never told anyone, he asked we didn’t. That’s who he was,” tweeted a staff member.
His charitable acts didn’t stop there. Esther Rantzen, the founder of children’s charity Childline, told the Press Association that he had anonymously donated millions of pounds.
“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,” she said. “Over the years he gave us millions.”
Several nurses have also come forward to praise the singer for a special concert he put on as a tribute to those who had cared for his late mother, and describe how he would allocate free tickets to nurses at his other shows.
“He made all of us feel special. People do say thank you, but for George to say it publicly feels good,” one tweeted.
One more colorful anecdote concerns the Steinway piano John Lennon famously used to compose the song “Imagine.” Michael anonymously bought the instrument in 2000 for £1.45 million ($1.78 million) from a private collector and donated it to the Beatles museum in Liverpool so it wouldn’t stay in storage and could be “seen by the people.”