George Michael's best friend recalls night he told heartbroken star his lover Anselmo was dead

13 February 2020, 15:38 | Updated: 13 February 2020, 16:00

George Michael, pictured in 1991, met Anselmo at a concert in Brazil
George Michael, pictured in 1991, met Anselmo at a concert in Brazil that year. Picture: Getty

George Michael's best friend recalls the moment he told the singer that the love of his life had died of AIDS.

Andros Georgiou, who was so close with George that he was one of the first people the singer told he was gay, explains in his biography that it fell to him to tell the heartbroken star that the love of his life, Brazilian Anselmo Feleppa, had passed away.

Read more: How George Michael sang to dying "secret first love" Anselmo in audience at Freddie Mercury tribute

George Michael had met fashion designer Anselmo when he was 27-years-old and on stage in Brazil at the Rock in Rio concert at the Estadio do Maracana in 1991.

After only months together the couple discovered Anselmo had AIDS, leading to the Brazilian tragically dying of flu-like symptoms in 1992.

George Michael at Lowell Hotel in New York City - October 23, 1991
George Michael at Lowell Hotel in New York City - October 23, 1991. Picture: Getty

In extracts from his book Rock: The Luckiest Man in Pop published in The Sun and adapted by Ben Jackson, Andros Georgiou recalls the day George's life came crashing down.

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"In 1991, Yog (George) went to Rio on tour, me with him. Rio changed Yog’s life forever. It was there he met a truly wonderful person, Anselmo Feleppa," Andros says.

"From the start, we just all took to [Anselmo]. He just had it," he recalls fondly: "After the tour, Yog moved back to LA and Anselmo went with him."

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"Then, on one trip back to England, Yog looked at me, breaking down, crying hysterically. I jumped up and hugged him.

"He told me: 'Anselmo has got AIDS.' He didn’t know what to do. How could the love of his life just die?

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"I just looked at him and said, 'Are you OK? Have you got AIDS?' I felt sick as I said it. 'No,' was his answer, thank God," says Andros.

George made Andros promise to keep the secret to himself, so for the next six months when he was in Anselmo's presence Andros had to pretend everything was fine.

"I was so worried about Yog the entire time," he says: "The thought of him contracting Aids never left my mind.

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"In 1993, Anselmo went on a trip back to Rio to see his family. I was with Yog in LA and couple of days later, his friend Lucia called; Anselmo had been admitted to hospital and it wasn’t good.

"Yog wanted to go to him immediately but we decided to wait a few days. Then the phone went and it was Anselmo. Yog took the call in his room.

George Michael and Lisa Stansfield performing at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert in 1992. George later said he was singing to Anselmo in the audience.
George Michael and Lisa Stansfield performing at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert in 1992. George later said he was singing to Anselmo in the audience. Picture: Getty

"When he came out, he looked upset. Anselmo was far from OK but we still thought it would pass and he’d be well enough to come home to LA," he writes.

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"A few days later, when Lucia called again. I was the one who picked up the phone at Yog’s place and all I could hear was crying.

“I knew right then, she didn’t have to tell me Anselmo had died. The actual cause of death was a brain haemorrhage.

“'YOG!' I yelled. He came running. He got halfway across the lounge when he saw my face. He collapsed," recalls Andros.

Read more: George Michael's secret acts of astounding generosity revealed after death

"Anselmo was buried within 24 hours of his death. George and I and others flew out," he writes.

"Anselmo’s family people lived up in the mountains and still they had heard of George Michael and, now, this world superstar was sitting in their lounge, crying over their son."

Andros was by George Michael's side throughout his time in Wham! and the beginnings of his solo career (pictured: George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley
Andros was by George Michael's side throughout his time in Wham! and the beginnings of his solo career (pictured: George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley. Picture: Getty

In the face of grief and suffering, Andros recalls there was a silver lining to the terrible tragedy.

"The day after Anselmo passed, my wife Jackie told me she was pregnant. I couldn’t believe the timing, I took this as a sign — as one life leaves, another one arrives.

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"Nine months later Harrison Anselmo Georgiou was born, named in honour of one of the nicest people you could ever want to meet, and, of course, Yog was to be his godfather," says Andros.

Sadly Andros and George Michael, who had grown up together and called each other "cousins", fell out over a "silly argument" in 1998, leading to the pair's estrangement until George's death on December 25, 2016.

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