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George Michael: 'Incredibly fortunate to be here'

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 5:02 PM EST, Fri December 23, 2011
George Michael reveals that his illness was much more serious than his representatives had said previously.
George Michael reveals that his illness was much more serious than his representatives had said previously.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The singer returns to London after weeks of treatment for pneumonia
  • It was "touch and go for a couple of weeks," he said
  • The illness prompted the cancellation of the rest of his European tour

London (CNN) -- Returning to London after weeks of being treated in an Austrian hospital for severe pneumonia, singer George Michael revealed Friday his illness was much more serious than his representatives had said previously.

"I'd say (it was) touch and go for a couple of weeks," said Michael. "We played it down. I didn't want to worry my fans too much."

He said he got "streptococcus-something. It's a form of pneumonia, and they spent three weeks keeping me alive, basically."

He appeared thin and breathless and said he was "trying to get over the tracheotomy."

But, he said, the experience was life-changing -- "I'm a new man."

"I don't want to take you through all of it, because some of it I want to protect my family from," he said. "... But it was basically by far the worst month of my life. I'm incredibly, incredibly fortunate to be here and incredibly fortunate to have picked up this bug where I did. 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."

The illness prompted Michael to cancel the remainder of his European tour. His representative, Connie Filipello, said in announcing the cancellations last month that Michael was "on the mend" and "receiving medication."

He said Friday he was sorry that he had not contacted fans, but he had been in no shape to do so.

"But I promise them, absolutely without question, the plan is to play to every single person who had a ticket," he said.

Michael said he also wants to play for the doctors who saved his life.

He grew emotional as he said, "I've spent the last 10 days since I woke up literally thanking people for saving my life, which is something I've never had to do before and never want to have to do again."

Asked what kept him going, he said, "My family. The thought of all the people I still have to play to ... the fact that I've been so lucky, and the fact that I still have plenty to live for. I have an amazing, amazing life, and if I wasn't spiritual enough before the last four, five weeks, then I certainly am now."

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