George Michael’s last days and how Christmas was linked with his darkest moments

Hearts were broken the world over when it was revealed on Christmas Day 2016 that eighties heartthrob George Michael had passed away.

While the coroner's report confirmed George had died of natural causes – heart and liver disease – many people felt he had died of a broken heart.

The beloved singer had faced many tragedies in his life, and the singer delved into these dark times during his final days.

Days before he died, George was working on a documentary about his life.

It was revealed in the emotional film that Christmas, which will forever be synonymous with Michael's death, had heartbreaking personal meaning to the singer ahead of his passing.

In the Channel 4 documentary, entitled George Michael: Freedom, George reveals how he spent Christmas Day in 1991 waiting to learn if his partner Anselmo Feleppa had been diagnosed with Aids.

George described the harrowing period as "the darkest, most frightening time in my life" as he sat with his family in the UK, while Anselmo was in LA.

Speaking in the documentary, George shared: "I sat at the Christmas table not knowing whether my partner, who the people around the table did not know about… not knowing whether the man I was in love with was terminally ill."

George was 27 when he clapped eyes on Anselmo in a crowd of 160,000 people at Rock in Rio, as he performed Careless Whisper on-stage.

Speaking about the life-changing moment, George once shared: "At the front of 160,000 people there was this guy over at the right-hand side of the stage that just fixed me with this look.

"He was so cute. I was so distracted by him, I stayed away from that corner, because otherwise I thought I was going to get really distracted and forget the words."

In an interview with Attitude, George described Anselmo as his "saviour" after feeling isolated without Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley by his side after his chart-topping solo album Faith was released in 1998.

George also credited Anselmo with giving him the courage to come out to his friends, and fight for creative control of his career to his record label.

George shared: "I was happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life. Fame, money all the things you know. Everything else just kind of paled by comparison.

"To finally at 27 years old, waking up in bed with someone who loves you, you know, and Anselmo was absolutely that."

A few months into their relationship Anselmo developed a lasting flu and he was advised to take a HIV test.

Not wanting to spoil George's Christmas, Anselmo waited until the New Year to fly out to London to tell George of his diagnosis.

George said: "I was absolutely devastated to find out he had a terminal illness… just devastated."

Anselmo's diagnosis coincided with the passing of George's friend Freddie Mercury, who had died of bronchial pneumonia caused by Aids.

Brazilian-born Anselmo returned to his home country in March 1993 for a blood transfusion when he died of a brain haemorrhage, aged just 33.

In the documentary, George's friend and former manager shared that George found out Anselmo was dying at the same time he was locked in a legal battle with his record label, Sony.

George took Sony to court, claiming he had barely any control over his work, with the company treating him as "no more than a piece of software".

He said: "All these things happened at the same time. Obviously nobody knew, he hadn’t come out at the time. He was on the stand… he hadn’t come out, his boyfriend was dying, he was holding this close to his chest, which was just devastating for him."

George lost his battle in the High Court in 1994, seeing him brand the legal fight "a complete waste of time".

The singer was then bought out of his contract by Sony and he channeled his upset over the case and heartbreak over the death of Anselmo into 1996 album Order.

Song Jesus to a Child was an ode to his lost love.

The cathartic process of creating his album helped George start to deal with his grief, but shortly after, he was dealt another heartbreaking blow.

He said: "I had about a six-month period where things were OK and then I found out that my mother had cancer."

George's mother Lesley was told the disease was terminal in December 1996 and she was allowed home from London's Charing Cross hospital to spend a final Christmas with her beloved family.

George was at his mother's side for her final few days in February 1997.

"I was so spiritually crushed after mum died," said George.

"So crushed and felt so bloody picked on by the gods. For all of my adult life she was phenomenal. Terrible, horrible loss."

George admitted he "hit rock bottom" in the following years and sunk to an emotional low, from which he never truly recovered.

Just under 20 years later George was found dead at his Oxfordshire home, dying from dilated cardiomyopathy – a form of heart disease – and fatty liver, which is when there is too much fat in the liver cells.

Excessive alcohol consumption can cause fatty liver, however, it is not considered a primary cause.

In 2018 series Autopsy: The Last Hours of George Michael, it was claimed that his cause of death could have been triggered by dark moments in his life such as the deaths of Anselmo and his mother.

In the days following his death, flowers and notes were scattered outside his Oxfordshire residence as fans the world over mourned over the loss of one of the most celebrated singers of all time.

Some of George's charitable endeavours were also revealed as Lynette Gillard, who had appeared on Deal or No Deal in 2008, shared to the press that she had been given £9,000 by George.

Gillard revealed on the now-defunct programme that she had spent 13 years trying to conceive and therefore had came on the show to try and win money to pay for the IVF treatment.

Catching the episode, George tracked Lynette down through Channel 4 bosses and anonymously donated £9,000 to her.

Sadly each of Lynette's rounds of IVF failed, but in 2016 Lynette and her partner Nathan Hart fell pregnant naturally just before they were due to start their final round of treatment.

Lynette gave birth to her son in September 2017 and she paid tribute to the generous singer by calling her baby son Seth Logan George Hart.

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