George Michael glad to be alive

In an impromptu press conference, George Michael talked about his recent health scare in Austria. Feeding reporters mince pies outside his London home, the singer expressed relief at being around to tell the tale.

At one point, he said, it was "touch and go" whether doctors could save his life. Michael fell ill while touring in November. Austrian doctors performed a tracheotomy to restore Michael's airway.

"It was by far the worst month of my life,” he said, “but I am incredibly, incredibly fortunate to be here – and to have picked up the bug where I did. I got streptococca-something. It's a form of pneumonia and they spent three weeks keeping me alive basically."

The near-death experience has unearthed the spiritual side of the former Wham singer, who had time to reflect on his life while he was recovering in hospital. He said that family, fans and "the fact that I still have plenty to live for" had helped him in his recovery. "I have an amazing, amazing life and if I wasn't spiritual enough before the last four or five weeks then I certainly am now."

The cancelled UK dates of his Symphonica tour will be rescheduled, although there are no details about when Michael will be able to resume performing.

Inevitably Michael's lengthy recuperation has stirred up countless wild rumours on the internet, but Austrian doctors issued assurances that Michael would make a full recovery. "There are no other health issues with regards to the patient other than the underlying pneumonic disorder, and no further measures had to be taken."

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