Singer tells of life and death pneumonia battle
Frail George Michael today faced the world for the first time since he was struck down by pneumonia last month — saying it was "touch and go for a while".
The singer was breathless and tearful as he spoke to reporters during a brief question and answer session outside his North London home.
George flew home for Christmas yesterday after spending a month in Vienna battling the illness.
He said: "It was by far the worst month of my life, but I'm incredibly, incredibly fortunate to be here."
He added: "I'm very weak but I feel amazing."
The 48-year-old Wham! star, whose hits include Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, had been receiving emergency treatment for pneumonia at the AKH clinic in Vienna.
Initial fears for his life caused panic among millions of fans around the world.
Austrian doctors had also feared his voice could be permanently damaged by the killer disease.
George said today: "I'm not supposed to speak for very long at a time, but Merry Christmas everyone.
"I feel amazing. I mean, I'm very weak, but I feel amazing.
"I got streptococca-something, it's a form of pneumonia, and they spent three weeks keeping me alive basically.
"I don't want to take you through all of it because some of it I want to protect my family from. I'm sure I'll get it all written down. But it was basically by far the worst month of my life.
"But I'm incredibly, incredibly fortunate to be here, and incredibly fortunate to have picked up this bug where I did, because apparently the hospital in Austria that they rushed me to was absolutely the best place in the world I could have been to deal with pneumonia so I have to believe somebody thinks I've still got some work to do here, you know?"
Life and death ... George Michael battled killer illness for a month
Asked what kept him going, he said: "My family, the thought of all the people I still have to play to, the fact I've been so lucky, and the fact I've still got plenty to live for.
"I have this amazing, amazing life, and if I wasn't spiritual enough before the last four or five weeks, then I certainly am now."
Asked how close to death he got, he said: "Well I would say it was touch and go for a couple of weeks.
"We played it down, I didn't want to worry my fans too much. And I'm really sorry that I couldn't contact them in any way before now, but I was really not in any state to.
"But I promise them, absolutely without question, the plan is to play to every single person who had a ticket."
Home for Christmas ... George Michael
Breaking down into tears, he added: "Also, I would like to play one other show for the doctors in the hospital in Austria that saved my life, because I spent the last ten days since I woke up literally thanking people for saving my life.
"Which is something I've never had to do before and never want to do again.
"And I really, really, really, really, from the bottom of my heart, thank everybody who sent messages, and everybody in that IC unit who made sure I'm here today.
"I really can't say any more because I'm really...I'm trying to get over the tracheotomy.
"Thank you, and a very, very, very, very, very, very merry Christmas to everybody."
Asked by a photographer if he could remove his sunglasses, George grinned and said: "No, sorry."
Asked if the experience had changed his life, he said: "Absolutely, I'm a new man. I really have to go, I'm sorry."