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  1. ITV Report

George Michael: Secret philanthropist gave millions to charity

George Michael: Secret philanthropist Credit: PA

George Michael was a hugely generous philanthropist who kept secret his considerable charitable donations, it has emerged.

The star donated royalties from some of his biggest selling singles and is said to have given a gameshow contestant thousands of pounds to fund her IVF treatment.

In the hours after the singer's death was announced, TV presenter Richard Osman revealed that Michael had called a woman who appeared on Deal or No Deal to give her the money she needed for IVF treatment.

Osman tweeted: "A woman on 'Deal Or No Deal' told us she needed £15k for IVFtreatment. George Michael secretly phoned the next day and gave her the £15k."

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In 1997 Michael lost his mother Lesley to cancer - at the time he described her as a "woman of great compassion", adding: "She felt much as I do, that we were living in a world that was gradually being drained of that."

Almost 10 years after her death he played a special free concert in north London for NHS nurses as thanks for the care they gave her.

Lynda Thomas, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "We are extremely grateful to George and send our condolences to his family, friends and fans."

Michael was also among the stars involved in the original Band Aid single Do They Know It's Christmas? which raised more than $24 million (£19 million) for famine relief in Ethiopia after selling more than two million copies worldwide.

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He has also helped numerous children with donations to Childline and also supported other organisations including the Terrence Higgins Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Childline founder and president Dame Esther Rantzen revealed that Michael had given the royalties from his 1996 number one single Jesus To A Child to the charity.

She added that he gave "millions", and helped hundreds of thousands of children through Childline.

Michael, who spoke about losing his partner Anselmo Feleppa to HIV, "personally supported" the Terrence Higgins Trust for "many years", Jane Barron from the charity said.

She added: "Along with other charities, we were grateful to benefit from the royalties of George's 1991 duet with Elton John, Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me.

"His donations contributed to a vision of a world where people living with HIV live healthy lives free from prejudice and discrimination."

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It was also revealed by author and journalist Sali Hughes that Michael offered to pay the sum he was gambling with on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. He said: "If I lose it, I'll just pay it."

Hughes also told how Michael tipped a barmaid £5,000 "because she was a student nurse in debt".