â A day after a contestant on the UK version of game show Deal or No Deal said his wife needed $28,500 for in-vitro fertilization treatment, the show’s producers got a phone call. It was George Michael offering to pay the sum in full, says executive producer Richard Osman in a tweet. “For many years I wondered who would have been so generous and now I know,” the contestant’s then-wife, 38-year-old Lynette Gillard, tells the Telegraph of the 2008 donation. That’s only one of numerous stories of Michael’s philanthropy that have surfaced since his death from heart failure. He also held a free concert for nurses in 2006 and gave a $6,000 tip to a nursing student straining to overcome her debt, says journalist Sali Hughes, per NBC News.
There was also the $90,000 donation to charity Sportrelief in 2006, says comedian David Walliams, per the BBC. In addition to donating publicly to HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust—including with royalties from a 1991 duet with Elton John—Michael also donated millions in royalties from his 1996 single Jesus to a Child to Childline, a charity that offers counseling services to children, its founder says. “He was determined not to make his generosity public so no one outside the charity knew how much he gave to the nation’s most vulnerable children,” she adds. Michael donated his time, to boot. In a tweet, actress Emilyne Mondo says she volunteered at a homeless shelter alongside him. “I’ve never told anyone,” she says. “He asked we didn’t.”