George Michael has spoken of how close he came to dying from pneumonia after being struck down with the illness while touring in Europe. The singer has been treated in an Austrian hospital for over three weeks - a period that he described as "by far the worst month of my life" during a press conference outside his north London home on Friday (December 23, 2011).
Fighting back the tears while speaking to reporters, George spoke of how he had "woken up" inside the hospital 10 days ago - seemingly unaware he had fallen ill while performing on his Symphonica tour. Though his condition was considered serious at the time, George claimed the severity of his illness was deliberately played down so as not to worry his fans. He explained, "I got streptococca-something . It's a form of pneumonia and they spent three weeks keeping me alive basically". The former Wham! frontman, 48, wore a knitted scarf and large winter coat as he thanked fans for their continued support as well as paying tribute to the medical staff who took care of him. At the time he was struck down with pneumonia, the singer was gaining rave reviews for his latest tour, which saw him accompanied by a 40-piece orchestra for some of his greatest hits. Speaking today, George promised to reschedule the dates, some of which were planned for the UK, saying, "The plan is to play to every single person who had a ticket.And I would like to play one show for the doctors in the hospital in Austria who saved my life".
The singer, who appears to have time for the press despite his chequered history with the tabloids, had his assistant bring out a plate of mince pies for the waiting reporters, according to the UK's Guardian newspaper.