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George Michael more wary after illness

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George Michael no longer feels as "safe" as he used to.

The 'Careless Whisper' hitmaker - who collapsed at his London home last month, reportedly for the second time recently - "almost" died after being stricken with acute pneumonia in December 2011 and admits the experience has changed him.

Speaking before his recent illness, he said: "It almost killed me. On a subconscious level it was very frightening and I'll probably never feel quite as safe again. But oh my God, I was just so grateful to come out alive and very happy to get back to my home in London."

George is astonished at how long his career has lasted and thinks fans connect with him because of his "genuine" desire to make an artistic statement.

Asked the secret to his longevity, he said in an interview: "I think it's heart. It's the desire to communicate genuinely, rather than a desire to show off and make a bit of money.

"I always had a strong intent to be direct and emotional with my songs, and that's never left me. When music comes from the heart it's as much an artistic statement as a painting or a book.

"To have had such a long and successful career, well - it's every artist's dream, isn't it?

"And I don't know how it happened, I really don't. Maybe it's because people can still sense my energy and my desire to make the best music that I possibly can. Who knows?"

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