As with many seemingly healthy pop stars who pass away too young, there has been much speculation about the cause and circumstances of George Michael’s death. So what happened? With an initial post-mortem examination proving “inconclusive” and six to eight weeks until more test results are received, here is what we know so far.
Where and when did George Michael die?
George Michael was found dead at his home in Goring-On Thames by his partner Fadi Fawaz on the morning of Christmas Day. Having been pictured at the house on Christmas Eve, Fawaz told newspapers that he fell asleep in his car that night and arrived at the house the following day to take George to lunch and discovered Michael in bed. “I went round there to wake him up and he was just gone, lying peacefully in bed,” Fawaz said. “Everything had been very complicated recently, but George was looking forward to Christmas, and so was I.” An ambulance arrived at the house at 13:42 GMT and police announced that although Michael’s death was unexplained, there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding it. Michael’s manager released a press statement confirming the cause of death as heart failure. George was last seen alive on Christmas Eve watching a torchlight procession to the church next door to his home from a window.
What happened in the following days?
On December 26, Fawaz Tweeted ‘Its a Xmas I will never forget finding your partner dead peacefully in bed first thing in the morning.. I will never stop missing you.’ Later five Tweets, spelling George’s surname incorrectly, appeared on Fawaz’ Twitter account, describing the discovery of Michael’s body and claiming that George had made a number of attempts on his own life. After the Tweets were deleted and the account closed, Fawaz denied posting the Tweets and claimed his account was hacked. On December 29 a post-mortem examination proved “inconclusive” and further tests taking six to eight weeks were needed to ascertain the cause of death, including toxicology tests.
What health issues had George had in recent years?
In 2011 George spent a month in hospital in Vienna suffering from pneumonia which left him in a coma and needing a tracheotomy to save his life. In 2013 he was hospitalised for two weeks with a head injury after falling from a moving car on the M1 – it was claimed that George, not wearing a seatbelt, had fallen out of the car while adjusting the door and the accident had not been intentional.
When is his funeral?
George will have two memorial services in January, details of which are yet to be confirmed, allowing family and friends to pay their respects before fans are invited to attend a memorial concert. Elton John is expected to play at one of the services while the likes of Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, Kate Moss and Elton rumoured to be performing at a tribute concert later in the year. George will be buried beside his mother Lesley in Highgate cemetery.
What will happen to his estate?
Despite his now legendary generosity towards family, friends, charities and strangers, George left around £105 million, much of which is reported to have been left to his elder sisters Melanie and Yioda. It’s thought the rest will be split between his godchildren, which include the children of Geri Halliwell and Martin Kemp. Fawaz is also thought to be named in his will.
What are the rumours surrounding his death?
The disputed Tweets from Fawaz’s account have sparked rumours of suicide, with uncredited sources claiming Michael, as a perfectionist and long-term sufferer from depression, was worried that his voice post-tracheotomy wasn’t up to his planned 2017 comeback and unable to accept recent weight gains which some newspapers have suggested made him reclusive in his final months. Considering George’s previous use of prescription drugs and his own admissions of smoking 25 cannabis joints a day, rumours resurfaced that George had spent a year in the £190,000-a-month Kusnacht rehabilitation clinic in Switzerland between 2014 and 2015 to be treated for crack cocaine addiction, and The Telegraph reported that a source had claimed that Michael had recently become a heroin user and had been admitted to A&E several times as a result. Both claims have been vehemently denied by Michael’s team. “The suggestion George was suffering with heroin addiction or used it in the weeks before his death is entirely false,” a family source said. “Fans have been celebrating his life and there’s no place for such unpleasant and false allegations.”