While taking questions from his celebrity fans during an interview with The Irish Times, Elton John spoke about the late George Michael’s battle with addiction and why the singer never reached out for help.
John was fielding questions from the likes of Victoria Beckham, Billie Jean King, Charli XCX, Bob Dylan, Billie Eilish, and Donatello Versace. The fashion designer prompted John: “You saved my life. How many other lives have you saved?”
John clarified that Versace was asking him about addiction. “I am responsible for helping a lot of people get sober and hopefully to stay sober,” he said. “That’s your responsibility, and it’s part of the process. You give them your phone number, you take theirs, you make sure you phone them, check up on them, see they’re OK — that’s what I did with Eminem.”
While the rock legend was able to help Eminem and Versace, he revealed that one person he wasn’t able to save was pop star George Michael, who died in 2016. John and Michael were friends for years and dueted together on “Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” but fell out in the 10 years before Michael's death.
“Some people, you try and they just don’t want to know,” John explained. “George Michael was like that. He did go away to Switzerland for a while, but he was too stubborn. It was weird; when he died, Ozzy Osbourne said to me, ‘You know what, Elton? I don’t think he wanted to be here any more,’ which seems like a harsh thing to say, but I think it was right.”
“He didn’t want to be here,” John continued. “He had a choice, he knew what he had to do and he wouldn’t do it. So there you go.”
Michael died in 2016 from dilated cardiomyopathy and a fatty liver, likely due to his alcohol abuse.