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Despite being an acclaimed musician with one of the biggest presences in the music industry during his career, George Michael has been known to live a lonely and broken life. The singer enjoyed his career as a solo singer and as a part of a pop group called Wham, but his close loved ones revealed that he was never happy. Especially close to the end of his life, George went into deep torment and a reclusive lifestyle and passed away at the age of 53 in 2016.
The tragic life story of George Michael took a downward spiral, and his death was undoubtedly a devastating event for the music industry. There have been many speculations around George’s untimely death, some claiming that it was a suicide while others saying that it was due to excessive drug use. The world is familiar with the singer’s unfortunate history with narcotics, and many believe it led to his young death. But what was the singer addicted to, and how did it cause his death?
George Michael Addiction: The Presumed Heroin Use
Born in North London, George Michael was raised by a middle-class family. His father ran a restaurant while his mother was a professional dancer. The singer first rose to fame during the 80s after he became a member of Wham! Additionally, he also focused on his solo career, which reached new heights of success very soon, selling more than 80 million records across the world and adding the singer to the list of best-selling artists of all time.
Due to Michael’s celebrity status and his very public battle with drug use, many people believe that his sudden, untimely death was secondary to an overdose. There is no doubt about his drug use, and multiple occasions prove it, such as his arrest in 2008 for smoking crack cocaine in a public bathroom and cocaine use a few years later in 2015. The singer also attended a luxury rehab in Switzerland in 2015 following a collapse. Sources reveal that George visited the emergency room multiple times close to his death and had still been using heroin secretly until the very last moment.
Michael had knowingly become extremely reclusive during the past few years as he preferred spending most of his time at home with his partner Fawaz. Fawaz was the one who revealed it on Twitter about Michael’s struggle with depression to the extent that he wanted to die. People close to the singer also confirmed his struggle with heroin but family members continued to deny it.
A senior coroner in Oxfordshire who investigated Michael’s death ruled out the suspicion around an overdose, declaring that he died of natural causes. In particular, his death was due to dilated myocardiopathy due to fatty liver and myocarditis. Remember that while myocarditis refers to the inflammation of the heart due to a viral infection, fatty liver can occur due to excessive drinking. While many still doubt the cause of death, the singer’s family requested privacy and voted against publishing his toxicology reports for the public to see.
So did George Michael’s addiction to opioids contribute to his death? So far, one can only speculate as the suspicions around his death persist. Regardless of the cause of death, his death remains a huge loss to the music world.
George Michael Death and the Rise of Opioid Addiction
The world got to know about Michael’s death when opioid abuse and addiction continued to spread across the world. As the Centers for Disease Control indicates, the problem has been on the rise for more than a decade and a half, with more people dying of it in 2014 than any year. So why do so many people continue abusing these medications? One of the primary reasons why people like George Michael and many others fell prey to these drugs is their pleasurable effects on the body. These drugs bind with specific receptors inside the body called opioid receptors, spread across the nerve cells in the brain and other body parts; opioids attach themselves to these receptors, decreasing the pain perception while producing a sense of well-being and euphoria. Over time, the consistent use of opioids stops the brain from producing naturally occurring opioids, making the body dependent on external drugs.
Opioids also remain highly accessible to people, especially in the legal forms found in the form of prescription painkillers. Once such people introduce their brains to the pleasurable effects of opioids, it becomes common for most of them to take the drug in ways other than prescribed to intensify the overall experience. For example, they may try increasing the dosage or switch to alternative methods of ingestion, such as mixing the tablets in water and injecting the solution into veins. These alternative methods may lead to quicker results or heighten their effects but can also bring additional risks, such as an overdose and death. Given this possibility, many people believe it to be a potential cause of Michael’s death.
Lessons to Learn from George Michael Addiction: Seeking Help for Opioid Addiction
Regardless of whether George Michael’s death was due to his drug use or natural causes, his struggles with addiction were common knowledge to the public. Everyone knew how poorly he lived due to his substance abuse, multiple arrests, physical issues, and other mental health disorders. Keeping all this in mind, people struggling with substance use disorders must seek help in the first instance as soon as they discover their underlying addiction. Many professional rehabs are working to extend help to such people while ensuring they remain free from risks. For the time being, experts encourage everyone to use Michael’s death to begin a conversation about the indiscriminate and potentially devastating effects of opioid addiction and contribute to recovery and prevention efforts.
What were George Michael drugs?
According to sources, George Michael smoked huge amounts of marijuana, sometimes going up to 25 joints per day. He also struggled with depressive disorder, especially following his long-term lover Feleppa’s death in 1993 due to an HIV-related illness, followed by his mother’s death in 1997. Following the back-to-back tragic incidents, Michael started using sleeping pills and became dependent on GHB, a designer drug. He was also caught in a public toilet where he was smoking crack cocaine.
Did George Michael addiction lead to arrests?
George Michael faced multiple arrests secondary to substance use. For instance, in 2008, the frontman of Wham! was lurking in a men’s room in Heath when police discovered him. Upon searching him, they found him loaded with crack cocaine and marijuana. Months after this arrest, the singer was arrested again when he got into a car accident, and the police found him with dilated pupils and gaping eyes, indicating that he was under the influence of drugs. Note that this incident marked George’s seventh arrest in the past 12 years. Following the car accident, the police sentenced him to four weeks in prison while suspending his license for five years.
Who used to supply drugs to George Michael?
George Michael had been in an on-and-off relationship with Paul Stag, whom he paid for procuring his drug GHB. They used the code word “champagne” for the drug while messaging each other, and Paul would get him the drug in small travel-size shampoo bottles. Michael would then mix GHB with Coca-Cola as needed.
How did George Michael die?
According to sources, the singer died of myocarditis; others suggest that drugs contributed to his early death.
Who found George Michael’s body?
Fadi Fawaz, who had been in a relationship with Michael for years, was the first person to find him dead when he went to his home on Christmas. According to Fawaz, he was due to join the singer for Christmas lunch, but when he went to wake him up, Michael was lying in his bed with no signs of life.
Was George Michael an alcoholic?
According to the coroner’s report, one of the possible contributors to George Michael’s death was fatty liver, possibly due to his alcohol use.