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Following pop icon George Michael's death this Christmas, there's been an outpouring of love from celebrities and everyday fans on social media, and now some of the singer's quiet acts of kindness are being revealed.
Michael was a longtime supporter of nonprofit organizations including the Terrence Higgins Trust, Macmillan Cancer Support and Childline, according to the Associated Press, but now the extraordinary breadth of his generosity is emerging.
Esther Rantzen, the founder of Childline, a free 24-hour counseling hotline for children in the U.K., told the Associated Press that Michael "gave royalties from his 1996 hit 'Jesus To A Child' to the charity along with many other donations...[and]...over the years he gave us millions."
Rantzen said Michael wished for "no one outside the charity to know how much he gave to the nation's most vulnerable children."
Besides the organizations like Childline that Michael worked with, its seems that the star may have been a year-round secret Santa to people whose stories touched him.
Richard Osman, the host of the UK's Deal or No Deal, revealed via Twitter that Michael secretly helped a contestant: "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."
A British journalist who once wrote about an anonymous celebrity leaving a £5,000 tip for a bartender revealed that it was actually Michael: "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."
Michael had a soft spot for nurses and even held a free concert exclusively for England's National Health Service (NHS) nurses as a thank-you for the kind people who cared for his mother who died of cancer in 1997. As musician Billy Bragg pointed out when he posted a photograph of the concert announcement, "His support for the LGBTQ community, the NHS and the miners marked George Michael out as an activist as well as a great artist."