The illness that forced George Michael to cut short a European tour was much more serious than his handlers let on -- the singer was fighting for his life these last few weeks, and may have been in a coma until ten days ago.
Michael spoke to The Associated Press outside his London home Friday, the day after he was released from AKH hospital in Vienna, where he had been for a month.
I spent the last 10 days since I woke up literally thanking people for saving my life which is something I have never had to do before and never want to do again, the 48-year old told reporters.
I don't want to take you through all of it because some of it I want to protect my family from and I'm sure I'll get it all written down but it was by far the worst month of my life. He explained that his reps had played down his condition to avoid alarming his fans.
Michael was rushed to the Vienna hospital in late November after experiencing chest pain in his hotel room.
That week, Michael's publicist released a statement confirming the singer had severe community acquired pneumonia and was being treated.
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.
At the time, George Michael's boyfriend Fadi Fawaz was optimistic about his partner's recovery.
George is doing well and is in good spirits, Fawaz reportedly told the Sunday Mirror in late Noevember. 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.
According to Friday's Associated Press report, Michael appeared to have lost some weight during his hospital stay and seemed short of breath at times during his ten-minute press address. He expressed enthusiastic gratitude for the hospital staff who cared for him and the outpouring of fan support.
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 that somebody thinks I've still got some work to do here, Michael said.
I really, really, really, really, from the bottom of my heart, thank everybody who sent messages and everybody in that IC unit that made sure I'm still here today.
Speculation about the source of Michael's condition surrounded the news of his November hospitalization.
Though Michael has never claimed to be HIV positive, it seems that his reputation for promiscuous behavior and pneumonia diagnosis contributed to public conjecture.
Rumors going around that George Michael has HIV. Please Lord no. It will crush my soul, a George Michael fan tweeted the Saturday after the singer was hospitalized.
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 prompted some backlash.
So just because George Michael happens to be gay and has pneumonia everyone suspects he has HIV? someone tweeted last month.
In an official statement, 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.
According to the Associate Press, Michael's doctors said publicly that the singer was not suffering from an underlying condition. Michael himself did not address the rumors during his press briefing Friday.
I'm very weak but I feel amazing, he said. I have an amazing, amazing life and if I wasn't spiritual enough before the last four five weeks then I certainly am now.