A Rockapaedia Obituary
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George Michael died aged fifty-three on 25th December 2016, at his home in Goring-on-Thames, near London, U.K. He was found dead, lying in bed, by his partner Fadi Fawaz. No cause of death was immediately determined; although his manager Michael Lippman conjectured that heart failure was the cause of death, and that George Michael "passed away peacefully". Fawaz described, in an interview with The Daily Telegraph, finding the performer on Christmas morning, that he went round there to wake him up and he was just gone, lying peacefully in bed. We don't know what happened yet. Everything had been very complicated recently, but George had been looking forward to Christmas, and so was he.
On 29th December 2016, a post-mortem was undertaken to determine the exact cause of death but was inconclusive. Further tests were carried out, and on 7th March 2017, a senior coroner in Oxfordshire attributed the death to natural causes as the result of a dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and a fatty liver.
Due to the length of the post-mortem, George Michael's funeral was not held until 29th March 2017. In a private ceremony, he was interred at Highgate Cemetery in north London, near his mother's grave.
George Michael was born in East Finchley, London, UK on 25th June 1963. His father, Kyriacos "Jack" Panayiotou, a Greek Cypriot restaurateur, had emigrated to Britain in the 1950s. George Michael's mother was an English dancer, and his maternal grandmother was Jewish. George Michael spent most of his childhood in Kingsbury, London, in the home his parents bought soon after his birth.
While he was in his early teens, the family moved to Radlett. There, George Michael attended Bushey Meads School in Bushey, where he befriended his future Wham! partner Andrew Ridgeley. The two had the same career ambition of being musicians. George Michael busked on the London Underground. His involvement in the music business began with his working as a DJ, playing at clubs and local schools around Bushey, Stanmore, and Watford. This was followed by the formation of a short-lived ska band called The Executive, with Ridgeley, Ridgeley's brother Paul, Andrew Leaver, and David Mortimer.
George Michael formed the duo Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley in 1981. The band's first album 'Fantastic' reached No. 1 in the UK in 1983 and produced a series of top 10 singles including "Young Guns", "Wham Rap!" and "Club Tropicana". Their second album, 'Make It Big', reached Number 1 on the charts in the US. Singles from that album included "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" (No. 1 in the UK and US), "Freedom", "Everything She Wants", and "Careless Whisper" which reached Number 1 in nearly 25 countries, including the UK and US, and was George Michael's first solo effort as a single.
George Michael sang on the original Band Aid recording of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" (which became the UK Christmas number one) and donated the profits from "Last Christmas/Everything She Wants" to charity. He also contributed background vocals to David Cassidy's 1985 hit "The Last Kiss", as well as Elton John's 1985 successes "Nikita" and "Wrap Her Up". George Michael cited Cassidy as a major career influence and interviewed Cassidy for David Litchfield's Ritz Newspaper.
Wham!'s tour of China in April 1985, the first visit to China by a Western popular music act, generated worldwide media coverage, much of it centred on George Michael. Before Wham!'s appearance in China, many kinds of music in the country were forbidden. The audience included members of the Chinese government The tour was documented by film director Lindsay Anderson and producer Martin Lewis in their film Foreign Skies: Wham! In China.
With the success of George Michael's solo singles, "Careless Whisper" (1984) and "A Different Corner" (1986), rumours of an impending break up of Wham! intensified. The duo officially separated in 1986, after releasing a farewell single, "The Edge of Heaven" and a singles compilation, The Final, plus a sell-out concert at Wembley Stadium that included the world premiere of the China film. The Wham! partnership ended officially with the commercially successful single "The Edge of Heaven", which reached number 1 on the UK chart in June 1986.
The beginning of George's solo career, during early 1987, was a duet with Aretha Franklin. The recording of "I Knew You Were Waiting" was a one-off project that helped George Michael achieve an ambition by singing with one of his favourite artists. It scored number one on both the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Hot 100 upon its release. For George Michael, it became his third consecutive solo number one in the UK from three releases, after 1984's "Careless Whisper" and 1986's "A Different Corner". The single was also the first George Michael had recorded as a solo artist which he had not written himself. The co-writer, Simon Climie, was unknown at the time, he later had success as a performer with the band Climie Fisher in 1988. George Michael and Aretha Franklin won a Grammy Award in 1988 for Best R&B Performance – Duo or Group with Vocal for the song.
In late 1987, George Michael released his debut solo album, 'Faith'. The first single released from the album was "I Want Your Sex", in mid-1987. The song was banned by many radio stations in the UK and US, due to its sexually suggestive lyrics. MTV broadcast the video, featuring celebrity make-up artist Kathy Jeung in a basque and suspenders, only during the late night hours. George Michael argued that the act was beautiful if the sex was monogamous, and he recorded a brief prologue for the video in which he said: "This song is not about casual sex." One of the racier scenes involved George Michael writing the words "explore monogamy" on his partner's back in lipstick. Some radio stations played a toned-down version of the song, "I Want Your Love", with the word "love" replacing "sex".
When "I Want Your Sex" reached the US charts, American Top 40 host Casey Kasem refused to say the song's title, referring to it only as "the new single by George Michael." In the USA the song was also sometimes listed as "I Want Your Sex (from Beverly Hills Cop II)", since the song was featured on the soundtrack of the movie. Despite censorship and radio play problems, "I Want Your Sex" reached Number 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and Number 3 in the UK. The second single, "Faith", was released in October 1987, a few weeks before the album. "Faith" became one of his most popular albums. The song was Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US for four consecutive weeks. It also reached Number 2 in the UK Singles Chart.[ The video provided some definitive images of the 1980s music industry in the process — Michael in shades, leather jacket, cowboy boots, and Levi's jeans, playing a guitar near a classic-design jukebox.
On 30th October, 'Faith' was released in the UK and in several markets worldwide. 'Faith' topped the UK Albums Chart, and in the US, the album had 51 non-consecutive weeks in the top 10 of Billboard 200, including 12 weeks at Number 1. Faith had many successes, with four singles ("Faith", "Father Figure", "One More Try", and "Monkey") reaching No. 1 in the US. 'Faith' was certified Diamond by the RIAA for sales of 10 million copies in the US. Sales of Faith are more than 25 million units. The album was highly acclaimed by music critics, with AllMusic journalist Steve Huey describing it as a "superbly crafted mainstream pop/rock masterpiece" and "one of the finest pop albums of the '80s". In a review by Rolling Stone magazine, journalist Mark Coleman commended most of the songs on the album, which he said "displays Michael's intuitive understanding of pop music and his increasingly intelligent use of his power to communicate to an ever-growing audience."
In 1988, George Michael embarked on a world tour. In Los Angeles, George Michael was joined on stage by Aretha Franklin for "I Knew You Were Waiting". In February 1989, 'Faith' won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year at the 31st Grammy Awards. At the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards on 6th September in Los Angeles, George Michael received the Video Vanguard Award. According to George Michael in his film, A Different Story, success did not make him happy and he started to think there was something wrong in being an idol for millions of teenage girls. The whole Faith process, promotion, videos, tour, awards, left him exhausted, lonely and frustrated, and far from his friends and family. He told his record company Sony that, for his second album, he did not want to do promotions like the one for 'Faith'.
'Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1' was released in September 1990. For this album, George Michael tried to create a new reputation as a serious-minded artist; the title is an indication of his desire to be taken more seriously as a songwriter. George Michael refused to do any promotion for this album, including no music videos for the singles released. The first single, "Praying for Time", with lyrics concerning social ills and injustice, was released in August 1990. James Hunter of Rolling Stone magazine described the song as "a distraught look at the world's astounding woundedness.George Michael offers the healing passage of time as the only balm for physical and emotional hunger, poverty, hypocrisy and hatred." The song was an instant success, reaching Number 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and Number 6 in the UK. A video was released shortly thereafter, consisting of the lyrics on a dark background. George Michael did not appear in this video or any subsequent videos for the album.
The second single "Waiting for That Day" was an acoustic-heavy single, released as an immediate follow-up to "Praying For Time". It reached Number 23 in the UK and Number 27 in the USA in October 1990. The album was released in Europe on 3rd September 1990, and one week later in the USA. It reached Number one in the UK Albums Chart and peaked at Number two on the US Billboard 200. It spent a total of 88 weeks on the UK Albums Chart and was certified four times Platinum by the BPI. The album produced five UK singles, which were released quickly, within an at eight-month period: "Praying for Time", "Waiting for That Day", "Freedom! '90", "Heal the Pain", and "Cowboys and Angels" (the latter being his only single not to chart in the UK top 40).
"Freedom '90" was the second of only two of its singles to be supported by a music video. The song alludes to George's struggles with his artistic identity, and prophesied his efforts shortly thereafter to end his recording contract with Sony Music. As if to prove the song's sentiment, George Michael refused to appear in the video (directed by David Fincher), and instead recruited supermodels Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz, and Cindy Crawford to appear in and lip sync in his vocal. It also featured the reduction of his sex symbol status. It had a Number eight success on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, and Number twenty-eight on the UK Singles Chart.
"Mother's Pride" gained significant radio play in the USA during the first Persian Gulf War during 1991, often with radio stations mixing in callers' tributes to soldiers with the music. It reached Number forty-six on Billboard Hot 100 with only airplay. In the end, 'Listen Without Prejudice Vol'1 sold approximately eight million copies.
At the 1991 Brit Awards, 'Listen Without Prejudice Vo'l. won the award for Best British Album. Later in 1991, George Michael embarked on the "Cover to Cover tour" in Japan, England, the US, and Brazil, where he performed at Rock in Rio. In the audience in Rio, he saw and later met Anselmo Feleppa, who later became his partner. The tour was not a proper promotion for 'Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1'. Rather, it was more about George Michael singing his favourite cover songs. Among his favourites was "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me", a 1974 song by Elton John; George Michael and John had performed the song together at the Live Aid concert in 1985, and again for George Michael's concert at London's Wembley Arena on 25 March 1991, where the duet was recorded. The single was released at the end of 1991 and reached Number one in both the UK and USA.
In the meantime, the expected follow-up album, 'Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 2', was scrapped due to George Michael's lawsuit with Sony. George Michael complained that Sony had not completely supported the release of his second album, resulting in its poor performance in the USA as compared to 'Faith'. Sony responded that George Michael's refusal to appear in promotional videos had caused the bad response. George Michael ended the idea for 'Listen Without Prejudice Vol.2' and donated three songs to the charity project Red Hot + Dance, for the Red Hot Organization which raised money for AIDS awareness; a fourth track "Crazyman Dance" was the B-side of 1992's "Too Funky". George Michael donated the royalties from "Too Funky" to the same cause.
"Too Funky" reached Number four on the UK singles chart and Number ten on the US Billboard Hot 100. It did not appear on any George Michael studio album, but was included on his solo collections 'Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael' in 1998 and 'Twenty Five' in 2006. The video featured George Michael as a director filming supermodels Linda Evangelista, Beverly Peele, Tyra Banks, Estelle Lefébure and Nadja Auermann at a fashion show.
George Michael performed at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert on 20th April 1992 at London's Wembley Stadium. The concert was a tribute to the life of the late Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury, with the proceeds going to AIDS research. In his last ever radio interview Mercury had praised George Michael adding that he loved his track "Faith". George Michael performed "'39", "These Are the Days of Our Lives" with Lisa Stansfield and "Somebody to Love". The performance of the latter was released on the Five Live EP.
Five Live, released in 1993 for Parlophone in the UK and Hollywood Records in the USA, features five—and in some countries, six—tracks performed by George Michael, Queen, and Lisa Stansfield. "Somebody to Love" and "These Are the Days of Our Lives" were recorded at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. "Killer", "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone", and "Calling You" were all live performances recorded during his "Cover to Cover Tour" from 1991. Michael's performance of "Somebody to Love" was hailed as "one of the best performances of the tribute concert".
All proceeds from the sale of the EP benefited the Mercury Phoenix Trust. Sales of the EP were very strong through Europe, where it debuted at number 1 in the UK and several European countries. Chart success in the US was less spectacular, where it reached number 40 on the Billboard 200 ("Somebody to Love" reached No.30 on the US Billboard Hot 100).
During November 1994, after a long period of seclusion, George Michael appeared at the first MTV Europe Music Awards show, where he gave a performance of a brand-new song, "Jesus to a Child". The song was a melancholy tribute to his lover, Anselmo Feleppa, who had died in March 1993. The song entered the UK singles chart at Number one and Number seven on Billboard in the same month of release. It was Michael's longest UK Top 40 single, at almost seven minutes long. The exact identity of the song's subject, and the nature of Michael's relationship with Feleppa, was shrouded in innuendo and speculation, as George Michael had not confirmed he was homosexual and did not do so until 1998. The video for "Jesus to a Child" was a picture of images recalling loss, pain and suffering. George Michael consistently dedicated the song to Feleppa before performing it live.
The second single, released in April 1996, was "Fastlove", an energetic tune about wanting gratification and fulfilment without commitment. The song did not have a chorus and the single version was nearly five minutes long. "Fastlove" was supported by a futuristic virtual reality-related video. It reached Number one in the UK singles chart, spending three weeks at the top spot. In the USA "Fastlove" peaked at Number eight. Following "Fastlove", George Michael released 'Older', his first studio album in six years and only the third in his ten-year solo career. The album's US and Canada release was the first album released by David Geffen's (now-defunct) DreamWorks Records.
'Older' was particularly notable for the release of its six singles. Each of them reached the UK Top three, a record for the most singles in the British Top three released from a single album.
In 1996, George Michael was voted Best British Male, at the MTV Europe Music Awards and the Brit Awards; and at the British Academy's Ivor Novello Awards, he was awarded the title of 'Songwriter of The Year' for the third time. George Michael performed a concert at Three Mills Studios, London, for MTV Unplugged. It was his first long performance in years, and in the audience was Michael's mother.
'Ladies & Gentlemen:The Best of George Michael' was George Michael's first solo greatest hits collection released in 1998. The collection of twenty eight songs are separated into two halves, with each containing a particular theme and mood. The first CD, titled "For the Heart", predominantly contains ballads; the second CD, "For the Feet", consists mainly of dance tunes. It was released through Sony Music Entertainment as a condition of severing contractual ties with the label.
'Ladies & Gentlemen' was a success, peaking at number one on the UK Albums Chart for eight weeks. It has spent over two hundred weeks in the UK Charts, and is the thirty-eighth best-selling album of all time in the UK. It is certified seven times platinum in the United Kingdom and multi-platinum in the USA, and is George Michael's most commercially successful album in his homeland having sold more than 2.8 million copies. So far, the album has reached worldwide sales of approximately fifteen million copies. The first single of the album, "Outside" was a humorous song making a reference to his arrest for soliciting a policeman in a public toilet. "As", his duet with Mary J. Blige, was released as the second single in many territories around the world. Both singles reached the top five in the UK Singles Chart.
'Songs from the Last Century' is a studio album of cover tracks. It was released in 1999 and was George Michael's penultimate album released through Virgin Records. So far the album has peaked the lowest of his solo effort. The album debuted at number 157 on the American Billboard 200 albums chart, which was also the album's peak position. It was also his lowest-charting album in the UK, becoming his only solo effort not to reach number one. It peaked at number two in the UK Albums Chart. Each of the eleven tracks was co-produced by Phil Ramone and George Michael.
In 2000, George Michael worked on the hit single "If I Told You That" with Whitney Houston, a song which was meant to initially feature Michael Jackson. George Michael co-produced the single along with American producer Rodney Jerkins. George Michael began working on what became his fifth studio album, spending two years in the recording studio. His first single "Freeek!", taken from the new album, was successful in Europe going to number one in Italy, Portugal, Spain and Denmark and in 2002 reaching the top ten in the UK and the top five in Australia. It made twenty-two charts around the world. However, his next single "Shoot the Dog" proved to be highly controversial when released in July 2002. It was highly critical of George W. Bush and Tony Blair in the leadup to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It reached number one in Denmark and made the top five in most European charts. However, in Britain it peaked at only number twelve in the UK Singles Chart.
In February 2003, George Michael unexpectedly recorded another song in protest against the looming Iraq war, Don McLean's "The Grave". The original was written by McLean in 1971 and was a protest against the Vietnam War. George Michael performed the song on numerous TV shows including 'Top of the Pops' and 'So Graham Norton'. His performance of the song on Top of the Pops on 7 March 2003 was his first studio appearance on the programme since 1986. He ran into conflict with the show's producers for an anti-war, anti Blair T-shirt worn by some members of his band. In response, Don McLean issued a statement, through his website, praising George Michael's recording he said: "I am proud of George Michael for standing up for life and sanity. I am delighted that he chose a song of mine to express these feelings. We must remember that the Wizard is really a cowardly old man hiding behind a curtain with a loud microphone. It takes courage and a song to pull the curtain open and expose him. Good Luck George."
On 17th November 2003, George Michael re-signed with Sony Music, the company he had left in 1995 after a legal battle. When George Michael's fifth studio album, 'Patience', was released in 2004, it was critically acclaimed and went straight to number one on the UK Albums Chart, and became one of the fastest selling albums in the United Kingdon; selling over two hundred thousand copies in the first week alone. In Australia it reached number two on 22nd March. It reached the Top five on most European charts, and peaked at number twelve in the United States, selling over half a million copies to earn a Gold certification from the RIAA.
"Amazing", the third single from the album, became a number one hit in Europe. When George Michael appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show on 26th May 2004. To promote the album, he performed "Amazing", along with his classic songs "Father Figure" and "Faith". On the show George Michael spoke of his arrest, revealing his homosexuality, and his resumption of public performances. He allowed Oprah's crew inside his home outside London. The fourth single taken off the album was "Flawless", which used the sample of the Ones' original dance hit "Flawless". It was a dance hit in Europe as well as North America, reaching number-one on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play and became George Michael's last number-one single on the United States Dance chart.
In November 2004, Sony released the fifth single – "Round Here". It was the least successful single taken from 'Patience' when it stalled in the UK charts at number thirty-two. In 2005, "John and Elvis Are Dead" was released as the sixth and final single from the album; it was released as a download single and was therefore unable to chart in the United Kingdom. George Michael told BBC Radio One on 10th March 2004 that future music that he puts out would be available only for download, and fans would be encouraged to make a donation to charity.
'Twenty Five' was George Michael's second greatest hits album, celebrating the 25th anniversary of his music career. Released in November 2006 by Sony BMG, it debuted at number-one in the UK. The album contains songs chiefly from George Michael's solo career but also from his earlier days in Wham! It comes in two formats: two CDs or a limited edition three-CD set. The 2-CD set contained twenty-six tracks, including four recorded with Wham! and three new songs: "An Easier Affair"; "This Is Not Real Love" (a duet with Mutya Buena, formerly of Sugababes, and a new version of "Heal the Pain" recorded with Paul McCartney. The limited edition three-CD version contains an additional fourteen lesser known tracks, including one from Wham! and another completely new song, "Understand".
'Twenty Five' was released in North America on 1st April 2008 as a 29-song, two-CD set featuring several new songs. To commemorate the 'Twenty Five' album, George Michael toured North America for the first time in seventeen years, playing large venues in major cities including New York, Los Angeles, St. Paul/Minneapolis, Tampa/St. Pete, Chicago and Dallas. The DVD version of 'Twenty Five' contains 40 videos on two discs, including seven with Wham!
During the 2005 Live 8 concert at Hyde Park, London, George Michael joined Paul McCartney on stage, harmonising on The Beatles classic "Drive My Car". In 2006,George Michael embarked on his first tour in fifteen years, '25 Live'. The tour began in Barcelona, Spain, on 23rd September and finished in December at Wembley Arena in UK. According to his website, the eighty-show tour was seen by 1.3 million fans. On 12th May 2007 in Coimbra, Portugal, he began the European "25 Live Stadium Tour 2007", including London and Athens, and ending on 4th August 2007 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. There were 29 tour dates (as of 21 April 2007) across Europe. On 9th June 2007 George Michael became the first artist to perform live at the newly renovated Wembley Stadium in London, where he was later fined £130,000 for over-running the programme for thirteen minutes.
On 25th March 2008, a third part of the 25 Live Tour was announced for North America. This part included 21 dates in the United States and Canada. This was George Michael's first tour of North America in seventeen years. Following news of Michael's North American tour, 'Twenty Five' was released in North America on 1st April 2008 as a 29-song, 2-CD set featuring several new songs, including duets with Paul McCartney and Mary J. Blige, and a song from the short-lived TV series, Eli Stone in addition to many of George Michael's successful songs from both his solo and Wham! career.
George Michael made his American acting debut by playing a guardian angel to Jonny Lee Miller's character on Eli Stone, a US TV series. In addition to performing on the show as himself and as "visions", each episode of the show's first season was named after a song of his. George Michael appeared on the 2008 finale show of American Idol on 21st May singing "Praying for Time". When asked what he thought Simon Cowell would say of his performance, he replied "I think he'll probably tell me I shouldn't have done a George Michael song. He's told plenty of people that in the past, so I think that'd be quite funny." On 1st December, George Michael performed in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, as part of the 37th National Day Celebrations.
On 25th December 2008, George Michael released a new track "December Song" on his website for free. It was hoped that fans who downloaded the song would donate money to charity. Though the song is not available any more on his website, it remains available on file sharing networks and a remastered version of "December Song" went on sale on 13th December. The popularity of the single was boosted by a promotional appearance that George Michael made on The X Factor. In early 2010, George Michael performed his first concerts in Australia since 1988. On 20th February 2010, George Michael performed his first show in Perth at the Burswood Dome to an audience of fifteen thousand.
On 2nd March 2011, George Michael announced the release of his cover version of New Order's 1987 hit "True Faith" in aid of the UK charity telethon Comic Relief. George Michael also appeared on Comic Relief itself, featuring in the first Carpool Karaoke sketch of James Corden, with the pair singing songs while Corden drove around London. On 15th April 2011, George Michael released a cover of Stevie Wonder's 1972 song, "You and I", as an MP3 gift to Prince William and Catherine Middleton on the occasion of their wedding on 29th April 2011. Although the MP3 was released for free download, George Michael appealed to those who downloaded the track to make a contribution to "The Prince William & Miss Catherine Middleton Charitable Gift Fund".
The 'Symphonica' Tour began at the Prague State Opera House on 22nd August 2011. In October 2011, George Michael was announced as one of the final nominees for the Songwriter's Hall of Fame. In November, he had to cancel the remainder of the tour as he became severely ill with pneumonia in Vienna, Austria.
In February 2012, two months after leaving hospital, George Michael made a surprise appearance at the 2012 Brit Awards at London's O2 Arena, where he received a standing ovation, and presented Adele the award for Best British Album. Symphonica was released on 17th March 2014, and became George Michael's seventh solo number one album in the UK, and ninth overall including his Wham! chart-toppers. The album was produced by Phil Ramone, his last production credit, and George Michael.
On 2nd November 2016, George Michael's management team announced that a second documentary on his life, entitled 'Freedom', was set to be released in March 2017.
Questions of George Michael's sexual orientation persisted until 7th April 1998, when he was arrested for "engaging in a lewd act" in a public restroom of the Will Rogers Memorial Park, in Beverly Hills, California. In 2007,George Michael said "that hiding his sexuality made him feel 'fraudulent', and his eventual outing, when he was arrested in 1998, was a subconsciously deliberate act."
George Michael was arrested by undercover policeman Marcelo Rodríguez, in a sting operation using so-called "pretty police". In an MTV interview, George Michael stated: "I got followed into the restroom and then this cop—I didn't know it was a cop, obviously—he started playing this game, which I think is called, 'I'll show you mine, you show me yours, and then when you show me yours, I'm going to arrest you!'"
After pleading "no contest" to the charge, George Michael was fined eight hundred & ten Dollars and sentenced to eighty hours of community service. Soon afterwards, George Michael made a video for his single "Outside", which satirised the public toilet incident and featured men dressed as policemen kissing. Rodríguez claimed that this video "mocked" him, and that George Michael had slandered him in interviews. In 1999, he brought a ten million Dollar court case in California against the singer. The court dismissed the case, but an appellate court reinstated it on 3rd December 2002. The court then ruled that Rodríguez, as a public official, could not legally recover damages for emotional distress.
On 23rd July 2006, George Michael was again accused of engaging in anonymous public sex, this time at London's Hampstead Heath. George Michael stated that he did cruise for anonymous sex and that this was not an issue in his relationship with partner Kenny Goss.
In February 2006, George Michael was arrested for possession of Class C drugs, an incident that he described as "my own stupid fault, as usual." He was cautioned by the police and released. In 2007 George Michael pleaded guilty to drug–impaired driving after obstructing the road at traffic lights in Cricklewood, in North West London and was subsequently banned from driving for two years and sentenced to community service. During September 2007, on Desert Island Discs, he said that his cannabis use was a problem and that he wished he could smoke less of it and was constantly trying to do so.
On 19th September 2008, George Michael was arrested in a public restroom in the Hampstead Heath area of London for possession of Class A and C drugs. He was taken to the police station and cautioned for controlled substance possession. On 5th December 2009, in an interview with The Guardian, George Michael explained he had cut back on cannabis and now smoked only 'seven or eight' spliffs per day instead of the 25 he used to smoke.
In the early hours of Sunday 4th July 2010 George Michael was returning from the Gay Pride parade when he was spotted on CCTV crashing his car into the front of a Snappy Snaps store in Hampstead, North London and was arrested on suspicion of being unfit to drive. On 12th August, London's Metropolitan Police said he was "charged with possession of cannabis and with driving while unfit through drink or drugs". It was reported that George Michael had also been taking the prescription medication amitriptyline.
On 24th August 2010, the singer pleaded guilty at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court in London after admitting driving under the influence of drugs and on 14th September 2010 at the same court, was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, a fine, and a five-year ban from driving. George Michael was released from Highpoint Prison in Suffolk on 11th October 2010, after serving four weeks.
On 26th October 2011, George Michael cancelled a performance at London's Royal Albert Hall due to a viral infection. On 21st November, Vienna General Hospital admitted George Michael after he complained of chest pains while at a hotel two hours before his performance at a venue there for his Symphonica Tour. George Michael appeared to be "in good spirits" and responded well to treatment following his admittance, but on 25th November hospital officials said that his condition had "worsened overnight". This development led to cancellations and postponements of George Michael's remaining 2011 performances, which had been scheduled mainly for the United Kingdom. The singer was later confirmed to have suffered from pneumonia and, until 1st December, was in an intensive care unit. On 21st December the hospital discharged him. George Michael told the press that the staff at the hospital had saved his life and that he would perform a free concert for them. While making the speech, he became emotional and breathless. During the speech, he also mentioned that he had undergone a tracheotomy. After waking from the coma, George Michael had a temporary West Country accent, and there was concern he had developed foreign accent syndrome.