George Michael’s death — Questions about his death persist

George Michael

George Michael was one of Britain’s greatest singing exports. Hits like Careless Whisper, Michael’s first solo single, and One More Try are timeless classics that dominate radio waves and streaming charts today. With over 120 million record sales worldwide, Michael passed away as one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

“London, you have made the last night fucking perfect,” Michael said during his final concert. “Thank you London, we love you – see you soon.” 

Unfortunately, a little over four years since that concert appearance Michael died. 

Key Takeaways

  • Three conditions caused Michael’s death: dilated cardiomyopathy, myocarditis, and fatty liver, the coroner concluded.
  • Michael’s bandmate Andrew Ridgeley claims he has questions concerning George’s death. 
  • George’s friend claimed that Michael died due to the grief caused by his first boyfriend’s and mother’s deaths.
  • Michael’s boyfriend, Fadi Fawaz, has blocked the creation of a biopic celebrating George’s life by fighting for a share of George’s estate.

George was found dead by his partner Fadi Fawaz on Christmas Day 2016

In 2018, Fadi wrote on Instagram that he and Michael fought on Christmas Eve, so they slept separately. When Michael failed to come down the next day, Fadi assumed that Michael was still avoiding him. 

After a while, he went to check up on George. “I could see that his right hand was up to his face, with his fist clenched, with his fingers curled against his cheek,” Fadi wrote. “His face looked normal. I saw that his legs were together but looked tense under the covers.”

Fadi called 999 and told the operator that he’d tried to wake George, but the singer wouldn’t wake up. “He’s gone. He’s blue. He’s gone,” Fawaz told the operator. “He’s cold and he’s blue… yes, he’s very stiff. He’s dead.”

Fadi Fawaz and George Michael | @fadifawaz/Twitter

Fawaz later told The Sun that the pair were looking forward to Christmas and had planned to head out for Christmas lunch. “I went round there to wake him up and he was just gone, lying peacefully in bed,” Fadi added. 

Following an ‘inconclusive’ post-mortem, Thames Valley Police said George’s death was unexplained but not suspicious. In March 2017, the coroner said that three conditions caused Michael’s death: dilated cardiomyopathy, myocarditis, and fatty liver. 

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease that causes thinning and weakening of the heart muscle. Viral infections and excessive alcohol consumption can cause it. Heavy alcohol use can also cause fatty liver. 

“As the cause of death was natural, no further action is proposed or required,” Thames Valley police said. The coroner’s conclusion cleared the path for the long-awaited burial. 

The private ceremony took place under tight security. Michael’s body likely arrived in a private ambulance as no hearse was spotted entering the Highgate West Cemetery. After the ceremony, the guest attended a wake at George’s Hampstead house. 

Some claim there’s a hidden cause of Michael’s death that wasn’t publicized

After George’s death, his former lover Kenny Goss said: “I think his body just gave up. All these years, it was just weak.” The statement seemed in line with the coroner’s conclusion. 

However, though he later distanced himself from these comments, Fadi Fawaz implied that Michael had committed suicide and pointed to previous suicide attempts as proof. 

George Michael
George Michael | Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images

Then, Michael’s Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley cast doubt on the conclusion that Michael died due to a heart condition. In his autobiography George and Me, Andrew wrote that questions lingered over George’s passing. Ridgeley wrote:

“He seemed to be in good health and there are conflicting reports surrounding that night that preceded his passing. That the circumstances of his death seemed unclear only compounded the distress. Without any real closure the grieving seemed terribly raw.”

“A heart condition was eventually recorded as the cause of death, but there are still a number of questions. It now seems as if we may never know what really happened.”

Elton John attributed George’s death to an unwillingness to live. John said that Michael refused to get help for his addiction to drugs and emotional struggles because he ‘didn’t want to be here.’ Elton said he tried to get George to check into rehab, but Michael refused. John told Sharon Osbourne on The Talk:

“I remember talking to you the day he died on Christmas Day, and I phoned you, and I was in Aspen and Ozzy got on the phone, and he said, ‘He didn’t want to be here.’ And I thought that’s the most succinct apt thing: he didn’t want to be here.”

Elton further claimed that George faked being comfortable with his gay sexuality. “He was so uncomfortable in his skin about being gay even though he said he wasn’t,” Elton said.

Michael’s childhood friend claimed that Michael would still be alive had his boyfriend Anselmo Feleppa lived

“It was a very strange first love,” Michael talked to Desert Island Discs about Anselmo Feleppa. “This was the first love of my entire life. It was tragic that I lost him. There have only been three times I’ve really fallen for anyone. And each time, on first sight, something has clicked that told me I was going to know that person. It happened with Anselmo across a lobby.”

George Michael and Anselmo Feleppa

George found out shortly after meeting Anselmo that his newfound lover was terminally ill. Feleppa passed away in 1993 due to an AIDS-related illness. 

Andros Georgiou told The Mirror that he opined Michael wouldn’t have died had Anselmo remained alive. “George was the love of his life and if he hadn’t died, I think George would still be here,” he said. Andros added that George had plenty of sex – with women even – but never found real love again. 

“In the early days he was bisexual,” Georgiou added. “I can’t name her but he slept with the top model in the world. There was a lot of sex in clubs in New York and London. Cloakrooms and stuff. It was fun and I don’t regret a second of it.”

The 2018 series Autopsy: The Last Hours of George Michael supported the claim that grief may have caused George’s death. Michael said he was terribly depressed after Feleppa’s death and spent three years grieving. Unfortunately, his mother’s death sent him deeper into despair. 

“In terms of coming close to saying I don’t want to live, that would have been after my Mum died,” he told The Guardian. “I had this overwhelming feeling that the best was behind me. I so loved my mum, and respected her.”

George also experienced the loss of his grandfather and uncle via suicide. “I felt almost like I was cursed,” he said. “Loneliness triggers greater levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body and this can greatly increase the risk of heart disease,” Dr. Michael Hunter said in the Autopsy series. 

Michael’s sister passed away precisely three years after Michael’s death

On Christmas Day 2019, George’s sister Melanie passed away. It was exactly three years after Michael’s passing. One family friend claimed Melanie ‘died of a broken heart’ after never getting over George’s passing. 

George Michael and Melanie Panayiotou
George Michael with sister Melanie Panayiotou at a party in the early 1980s | Photo by PIP-Landmark Media

“She had been living as a recluse and only really went out to the hairdressers and post office and occasionally with her older sister Yioda,” a source told The Sun. “She stayed indoors, had shopping delivered and rarely left the house.”

Seven months after Melanie’s death, a post-mortem revealed that she died after falling into a diabetic coma caused by diabetic ketoacidosis, a complication ‘caused by lack of insulin and sky-high blood sugar.’ The report also pointed to hypertensive heart disease, bronchopneumonia, and obesity as contributing factors. 

“It’s impossible, how could this happen? To die the same day as your brother, who had died three years before,” one of Michael’s childhood friends told The Mirror. “I think the family is cursed. I can’t get my head round it.”

George, his mom, and his sister were buried in unmarked graves in Highgate. “George’s grave was left unmarked over fears it would become a morbid tourist attraction,” a source told The Sun. “But a lot of people believed he deserved better.”

A headstone was eventually placed on the grave five years after George’s death. Georgiou said the plaque brought him some catharsis, though Christmas is usually a challenging period for him and others close to the late singer. He said:

“I went to see George’s grave and finally I was happy to see a plaque along with his mum and sister. It was very emotional because it made it real. I’m very happy this has happened. It took so long. For a while now I have felt that he has been forgotten. This time of year is always incredibly hard for me.”

Fadi Fawaz’s claim of Michael’s estate has halted the creation of a biopic

George Michael left the bulk of his £97.6 million estate to his sisters, dad, and friends. His sisters, Yioda and Melanie, got the largest share and his dad, Kyriacos, got a horseracing stud farm he’d operated for years. 

George’s Mum Lesley Angold Panayiotou, dad Kyriacos ‘Jack’ Panayiotou, sister Melanie Panayiotou and Micheal

“George was devoted to his dad and sisters, they were always going to be looked after,” a source said. Several relatives and pals also benefited, including Shirlie Kemp, a backup singer for Wham! However, Michael snubbed his lovers Kenny Goss and Fadi Fawaz. 

Kenny successfully petitioned to have a share of Michael’s estate. Goss sued under a provision in the Inheritance Act that allows people dependent on a deceased person to claim from their estate when left off the will. 

Fadi Fawaz, however, has failed to acquire a share of George’s estate. “Fadi is still a nightmare — he’s always causing headaches — and the family have rowed a lot over the details,” an insider told The U.S. Sun. “The simple fact is George’s estate is as complex as ever.”

Fawaz has gone to freakish lengths to get a share of George’s fortune. He’s posted nasty comments about George and paid fines for spraying graffiti on a church wall and smashing the window of a beauty salon. 

Fadi claims he’s selling off the singer’s possessions as he has no money. He once refused to leave George’s London property, standing on the roof topless in protest of attempts to eject him forcibly. The property was eventually sold to businessman Stephen Cameron for £19 million. 

The wrangles affecting George’s estate have blocked the production of a biopic celebrating his career. “No one can agree how much of the drama of his real life should go into it, because they’re all so distracted by the dramas still going on,” an insider said.