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Watch George Michael give emotional account of near-death pneumonia ordeal

Mirror logo Mirror 26/12/2016 Natalie Evans

George Michael gave an emotional account of how he had to learn how to walk again after his battle with pneumonia almost claimed his life.

The star said he “dodged a bullet” and was lucky to be alive after falling sick in Vienna in November.

The singer died peacefully at his home aged 53 , his publicist confirmed on Christmas Day.

The statement said: "It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period.

"The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time.

"There will be no further comment at this stage."

© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc

Michael nearly died from pneumonia in late 2011.

After receiving treatment in a Vienna hospital, he made a tearful appearance outside his London home and said it had been "touch and go" whether he lived.

Doctors had performed a tracheotomy to keep his airways open and he was unconscious for some of his spell in hospital.

Speaking back in 2012 about his ordeal, Michael said: “I had to relearn to walk due to muscle atrophy. I just woke up kind of like this feeble old man.

“I guess all I can say about it is it was a horrible experience,” he told Chris Evans on BBC Radio 2.

“It was downplayed because I didn’t want to worry [anyone], or to have the press clamouring around the hospital. It would have been like a death watch.”

Recalling how close he was to not recovering, he explained: “It was three weeks touch and go, on several occasions it was very close.

“When something like that happens, it takes a while to feel that life is safe again. I’ve lived with a lot of anxiety since.”

Michael added that his anxiety stopped him watching a news report on Whitney Houston’s death.

“I was watching footage of Whitney Houston being wheeled into an ambulance,” he recalled.

“I said ‘change the channel’. “It would have been freaky if Whitney and I had died within six weeks of each other.

"We both became big at the same time, we worked together. I dodged a bullet. I appreciate how lucky I am to be alive.”

Michael also had a brush with death when a car he was travelling in spun out of control at a junction on May 16, 2013.

He was airlifted to a specialist trauma centre in London.

His spokeswoman confirmed the crash at the time saying: “George Michael was a passenger in a vehicle involved in a traffic accident yesterday evening, no third party was involved,” she said.

The singer spent two weeks in hospital recovering from his injuries.

George pledged he was done with drugs in 2014, saying “I’ve completely stopped. I have decided to change my life and I haven't touched it for well over a year and a half now.”

Credits: PA

Credits: PA
© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc

George sold more than 80 million records worldwide in a career spanning four decades.

He began as one half of pop duo Wham! - but became famous in his own right with his debut solo single Careless Whisper.

His 1987 debut solo album Faith sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.

He achieved seven number one singles in the UK and eight number one hits in the US.

Meanwhile, Michael's 1990 album Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 had been set to be reissued accompanied by a new film featuring Stevie Wonder, Elton John and the supermodels who starred in the video to his hit single Freedom! '90.

The movie, with the working title Freedom: George Michael, was to be narrated by Michael and set to feature Mark Ronson, Mary J Blige, Tony Bennett, Liam Gallagher, James Corden and Ricky Gervais.

The record was his second solo album, after the hugely successful Faith, and was arranged produced and almost entirely written by Michael, but did not feature him on the album cover.

Band Photo

It featured hits including Cowboys And Angels, Mother's Pride and Praying For Time and outsold Faith in the UK, where it went platinum four times but led to a court case with US record label Sony about Michael's frustration over how the album has been marketed.

Michael lost the case.


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