George Michael cause of death: how did Wham! singer die - how to watch Channel 4 documentary Outed

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Wham! singer George Michael is the focus of new two-part Channel 4 documentary Outed

The legendary Wham! singer George Michael, who is known for the hit songs Last Christmas, Club Tropicana, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, and Careless Whisper, is the subject of a new Channel 4 documentary about his life in the public eye.

Outed, which airs this week, explores how the singer’s sexuality was revealed in the tabloid press following his arrest, and how he responded to having that aspect of his life shared with the world.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The documentary hears from Michael’s former partners, his former manager, and friends and family who knew him best. It has been more than six years since George Michael died, yet he remains a major figure in British popular culture, as well as a gay icon.

How did George Michael die?

George Michael died on Christmas Day 2016 in bed at his home in Goring-on-Thames - he was 53 years old. His partner, Fadi Fawaz, with whom he had been in a relationship since 2012, found him. Michael’s funeral was delayed as a coroner was required to investigate the cause of death.

In March 2017 a senior coroner stated that Michael’s death was a result of dilated cardiomyopathy - a type of heart muscle disease - with myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and a fatty liver.

Fawaz, who was left nothing in Michael’s will, made several unsubstantiated claims in the years following his death. He alleged that Michael had HIV at the time of his death. HIV is a factor in developing dilated cardiomyopathy, but Fawaz’s claims are unproven.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
George Michael came out in 1998George Michael came out in 1998
George Michael came out in 1998 | BAUER-GRIFFIN.COM

Michael had also struggled with health issues including drug addiction throughout his life and was arrested twice on drug-related offences. He had previously stated that he smoked 25 cannabis joints each day.

In 2011 he suffered pneumonia and was treated at an intensive care unit, and at one point was comatose. In 2013 he fell from his moving car and suffered a head injury and had to be airlifted to hospital.

When did George Michael come out?

George Michael had previously told his Wham! partner Andrew Ridgeley that he was bisexual, but later realised that he was gay. He had a relationship with dress designer Anselmo Feleppa in 1992, who died the following year.

Michael later entered into a relationship with former flight attendant Kenny Goss in 1996, but it wasn’t until 1998 that his sexuality became public knowledge. In 1998 the singer was arrested for a lewd act in a public toilet in LA.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
George Michael with Anselmo FeleppaGeorge Michael with Anselmo Feleppa
George Michael with Anselmo Feleppa | C/O Andros Georgiou

Following the arrest, Michael publicly came out as a gay man. Speaking to CNN in the interview in which he revealed his sexuality, he said:  “With pop stars or film stars, we become the object of people’s self-definition, as well as the object of sexual definition.

“I think people like to think they can spot a gay person as opposed to a straight person because it makes them feel something … a little more defined in themselves. And if someone kind of is on the borderline, which I’ve always considered myself in terms of the way I appear to people..”

He added: "I’m a very proud man. I want people to know that I have not been exposed as a gay man in any way that I feel … I don’t feel any shame for...I feel stupid and I feel reckless and weak for having allowed my sexuality to be exposed this way, but I don’t feel any shame whatsoever. And neither do I think I should”.

When is George Michael: Outed on TV?

George Michael: Outed is a two-part Channel 4 documentary airing on Monday 6 March at 9pm and Tuesday 7 March at 9pm. Episodes will also be available to watch on All4 shortly after they are first broadcast.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.