George Michael death: Family 'touched' by tributes

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionStories of the singer's generosity have appeared alongside the tributes

George Michael's family has been "touched beyond words" by an "outpouring of love" for the late star, his publicist has said.

Fans have been gathering outside the singer's London and Oxfordshire homes following his death on Christmas Day.

Amid the tributes, tales of his philanthropy have emerged - including how he funded a couple's IVF treatment.

The 53-year-old's publicist thanked "those who, rightly, have chosen to celebrate his life and legacy."

Michael secretly paid £15,000 for a stranger's IVF treatment, former Deal or No Deal producer Richard Osman revealed.

Osman, who now co-presents Pointless, tweeted: "A woman on 'Deal Or No Deal' told us she needed £15k for IVF treatment.

"George Michael secretly phoned the next day and gave her the £15k."

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThis video has been removed for rights reasons.

There was "no more fitting tribute than the many, many kind words that have been said", Michael's publicist said.

Other stories of the star's benevolence, including a £50,000 Sport Relief donation, have emerged on social media.

In a string of tweets celebrating the singer's music and humour, comedian and author David Walliams said the star had supported his 2006 cross-Channel swim to the tune of £50,000.

Image copyright Twitter

The woman who received IVF treatment was later named as Lynette Gillard, 38, from Bolton, whose partner Steve Davies had appeared on Deal or No Deal in 2008.

She told the Telegraph: "For many years I wondered who would have been so generous and now I know. What more can I say other than 'Thank you George'."

At the time, Mr Davies had told the Manchester Evening News: "Thank you is not enough. It restores your faith in humankind.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Some of Michael's contributions to charities were higher profile - like Live Aid in 1985

"All the bad news you read about and then something like this happens."

Michael's donations ranged in scope from major charities and appeals to individual acts of kindness.

The proceeds from sales of Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me, his 1991 live duet with Sir Elton John, were donated to HIV and children's charities, including the Terence Higgins Trust.

It tweeted: "Thank you to George Michael for all he did for the LGBT community and to educate about HIV. RIP George."

Children's charities

Wham! royalties from Last Christmas went to Ethiopian famine relief efforts, while the founder of the children's helpline charity Childline, Dame Esther Rantzen, said Michael had donated royalties from the song Jesus to a Child to the cause.

"He really wanted to keep his help secret, it was an intensely personal gift," Dame Esther told BBC News.

"It meant we could answer more children."

She said Michael, who donated about £2m to Childline over the years, "completely understood" the importance of helping children.

Children's charities were also at the fore when he donated each year to Capital Radio's appeal.

Former presenter Mick Brown tweeted: "Every Easter at Capital when I was on air with Chris Tarrant for help a London child, George would call in at 3.30pm with a £100,000 donation."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption George Michael and Elton John donated proceeds from their 1991 duet to charity

The star's mother died of cancer in 1997 and in 2006 he played a free concert at the Roundhouse in Camden, north London, for NHS nurses to thank them for their care.

He also gave his time to Macmillan Cancer Support, as one of their ambassadors.

Alongside major charities, individuals on Twitter shared their accounts of his kindness.

£5,000 tip

Journalist Sali Hughes said: "I wrote in a piece ages ago about a celeb I'd worked with tipping a barmaid £5k because she was a student nurse in debt. Was George Michael."

And Emilyne Mondo said he had worked anonymously at a homeless shelter where she volunteered.

Michael's partner Fadi Fawaz, says he found the singer dead when he went to his home in Goring on Christmas Day.

He told the Telegraph: "We were supposed to be going for Christmas lunch.

"I went round there to wake him up and he was just gone, lying peacefully in bed. We don't know what happened yet.

"George was looking forward to Christmas, and so was I. Now everything is ruined.

"I want people to remember him the way he was - he was a beautiful person."

Michael's music has been climbing the charts since his death.

On iTunes, Ladies & Gentlemen became the number one album and Careless Whisper went to 12 in the singles chart.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites