The Irish Times reports:
Behind the headlines and huge on-stage persona, George Michael was a generous man who kept quiet about his considerable charitable donations, it has emerged. The star donated all the royalties from his 1996 number one single Jesus To A Child to charity, and is said to have given a gameshow contestant thousands of pounds to fund her IVF treatment.
Michael has helped countless children as a result of his donations to Childline, the charity’s founder and president Dame Esther Rantzen said. “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 told the Press Association.
“Over the years he gave us millions and we were planning next year, as part of our 30th anniversary celebrations to create, we hoped, a big concert in tribute to him — to his artistry, to his wonderful musicality but also to thank him for the 100s of 1,000s of children he helped through supporting Childline.”
Childline provides help with issues with include child abuse, bullying, mental illness, parental separation or divorce, pregnancy and substance misuse.
The same year that he came out as gay in 1991 , George Michael began his public activism by helping with a documentary about six young people affected by the HIV virus to coincide with World Aids Day.
As part of his philanthropy — much of it under the radar — he was also a major supporter of the Terrence Higgins Trust, a British HIV charity.
“His donations contributed to a vision of a world where people living with HIV live healthy lives free from prejudice and discrimination.
George Michael was a true gay icon and LGBT hero. He will be greatly missed.
Elton John, Andrew Ridgeley, Madonna, Brian May, Sam Smith, Kylie Minogue, Johnny Marr and countless other artists and fans have paid tribute to the 53-year-old star.