George Michael Pneumonia Hospitalization Prompts HIV Speculation

 @EllenKilloran on November 26 2011 8:46 PM

Pop legend George Michael remains hospitalized with severe pneumonia in Vienna after cancelling all remaining 2011 Symphonica European tour dates as a result of the illness. Michael reportedly fell ill with severe chest pains while in his Vienna hotel room earlier this week.

George Michael has severe community acquired pneumonia and is being treated as an inpatient, his publicist said in an official statement on Friday. His condition has stabilised and he is responding to treatment. From the current point of view, the time until recovery cannot be estimated, but he will not be able to perform the rest of the tour. Besides medical treatment, complete rest and peace and quiet are mandatory.

Though George Michael has never claimed to be HIV positive, it seems that his reputation for promiscuous behavior and type of illness are contributing to speculation on the cause of his condition.

Rumors going around that George Michael has HIV. Please Lord no. It will crush my soul, a George Michael fan tweeted Saturday.

Its [sic] sad to hear that George Michael could have AIDS. Pneumonia is a common trait of the HIV virus. Best wishes George!, tweeted another.

The speculation has prompted some backlash.

So just because George Michael happens to be gay and has pneumonia everyone suspects he has HIV? someone tweeted.

Within the official statement on the singer's European tour dates, Michael's publicist attempted to quash any rumors about his health -- without identifying them specifically.

George Michael is ill with pneumonia and any other speculation regarding his illness is unfounded and untrue, the statement said.

The Village Voice writer Michael Musto was critical of the publicist's choice of language.

Isn't it nice that 30 years after AIDS rose up and was instantly stigmatized, it's still the illness that people so eagerly try to distance themselves from and without even saying its name? Musto wrote in a Village Voice blog post. 'HIV' is a dirty word, even if you're a pop star who came out after having been busted for 'engaging in a lewd act' in a public bathroom, later getting nabbed again for a similar deed in a park.

I'm not saying George has HIV, Musto continued. I have no idea.

George Michael was originally scheduled to appear in the 2007 BBC documentary Stephen Fry: HIV and Me, but reportedly requested that his interview be cut from the program before it aired. Michael was believed to have discussed his fear of HIV, which prevented him from submitting to an HIV test for three years prior to filming the interview.

George says he does not believe in tests. He says he finds the wait for results too harrowing and that he hasn't had a test since at least 2004 due to his fears it might be positive, Ross Wilson, a producer of Stephen Fry: HIV and Me, reportedly said in 2007.

 According to the Telegraph, Michael's spokesperson released the following statement to explain the singer's withdrawal from the documentary: On reflection, [Michael] felt it was too close and too personal a journey, and he asked for his contribution to be removed.

George Michael was romantically involved with Brazilian fashion designer Anselmo Feleppa, who died of an AIDS-related illness in 1993. Michael reportedly dedicated his song Jesus to a Child to Feleppa.

Michael's current boyfriend, Fadi Fawaz, reportedly told the Sunday Mirror that the singer is on the mend.

George is doing well and is in good spirits, Fawaz told the Mirror. I have been seeing him each day and he is getting stronger all the time. George is trying to stay upbeat. He is ­smiling through it all and everyone is just willing him to get better.

He's getting better by the hour...A lot of what has been reported isn't true, Fawaz continued. I've been with him every day and his condition is getting better. His family and friends are very happy with his care. He is in the best place, getting the treatment he needs.

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