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January 17, 2017 08:45 AM

George Michael‘s childhood friend Andros Georgiou claims that the “Faith” singer’s Christmas Day death was linked to a drug overdose.

“I think it was an accident,” Georgiou told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show on Tuesday. “Hard drugs had been back in his life.”

He continued, “I just think that he took too much of something, mixed with the anti-depressants and the other drugs he was on, with alcohol. I think his heart just stopped beating. You know if you take — if you’re on Xanax for instance, or Temazepam — your heart slows down anyway.”

Georgiou, who yesterday wrote about the growing rift between Michael’s family and boyfriend Fadi Fawaz in a Facebook post, claimed that while “crack was one of [Michael’s] favorite drugs,” he firmly believed the singer was not using heroin towards the end of his life.

“I know that is the one drug he would never touch,” he said.

He also reaffirmed his belief that Michael’s death was not a suicide after a series of tweets from Fawaz’s account claimed he had killed himself. (Fawaz, who claimed he discovered Michael dead in his bed, later said his account had been “hacked.”)

“I believe he had suicidal thoughts over the last few years because his mental health wasn’t in the best place,” said Georgiou, who fell out with Michael shortly after his 1998 arrest for “lewd behavior” in a Beverly Hills park. “I don’t believe this was suicide in a million years because why would you arrange such a huge dinner with the whole family if you’re going to kill yourself the night before. It just doesn’t make any sense. There’s a lot about this that doesn’t make sense.”

Georgiou continued, “He was actually getting better. He was planning the Freedom documentary. He had written some new songs. I know he had been out as well. He had been a recluse for nearly four years — I mean he was in rehab for three years. The papers reported it as a year but he was actually in that Swiss Clinic for three years before he came out. But he had stopped all the hard drugs. He was trying to lead a normal life again.

“I just believe he was dragged back in. You know, to the dark side.”

Along with other close friends and family, Georgiou is now left in a state of limbo while post-mortem toxicology tests are completed. An initial examination carried out in December proved “inconclusive,” according to authorities.

Remember George Michael in PEOPLE’s commemorative edition, George Michael: A Pop Star Life, on sale now.

Most of all, he would like “to move on.” Before that can happen, however, he needs a series of questions to be resolved by the Oxfordshire Coroner.

“I just want to get to the truth of what happened,” said Georgiou. “Exactly what was in his blood at the time? Who gave it to him? Why did he have it again? So the quicker this is all put to bed, the quicker we can put him to rest and then move on, because until that happens no one can move on. Because he’s still like… I can’t even imagine. He’s like, lying on a slab in a fridge. It doesn’t comprehend with me.”

Clearly emotional, he added, “It is just a shocking experience. Christmas will never be the same. His record ‘Last Christmas’ — I mean ‘Last Christmas.’ It will be played forever. It always is. And now for us — the fans and the family, we’ll be turning the radio off. Christmas will never…

“I still don’t believe what I am talking about. I still can’t believe it. I haven’t comprehended it yet. It’s like, ‘No, he’s going to pop up at some point.’ But obviously not.

“It’s such a shame and may he rest in peace,” he said.

RELATED VIDEO: George Michaels Greatest Hits

Georgiou added that he “just broke down” after the news of Michael’s death was confirmed to him over the phone. Now that three weeks have passed, he is able to reveal more about his closest childhood friend — and in particular his quiet acts of huge generosity.

Since Michael’s death it has emerged that the singer regularly gave money to people who needed help on a whim, including a number of women he saw describing their struggles to pay for IVF treatment on British TV. According to Georgiou, however, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

“We would often go out on New Year’s Eve with two Range Rovers full of food and drive around the West End and feed all the homeless,” he shared. “He’d give them all 50 to 100 pounds each for Christmas. He was not in disguise — just with a baseball hat, like I’ve got on.”

As children, Georgiou and Michael bonded over a shared love of music and as 9-year-olds went to see Elton John play at London’s Earl’s Court while their mum’s sat next door in a burger bar.

Following Michael’s huge success in the 1980s, however, Georgiou got to meet Elton in an entirely more personal way — alongside the late Princess Diana.

“Once we went to dinner at Elton’s house,” said Georgiou. “He told us Princess Diana was going to be there and after dinner he said, ‘I really want to play you my new album.’ So we were like, ‘Great, yeah.’

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“So he got one of the servants and said, ‘Can you back the Bentley up?’ We were like, ‘Where are we going?’ And he said, ‘Nowhere. I just don’t have a good sound system,’ ” he recalled. “It just made us laugh. He’s got this magnificent multi-million dollar house, but he didn’t have a good stereo.”

Georgiou added, “So the driver parks it outside and Elton gets into the driver’s seat, George is in the front seat, and me and Princess Diana are sitting in the back. I couldn’t help but like pinch myself. It was like, ‘Wow!’ We listened to the album while we were in the car for about an hour.”

This isn’t the only musical memory that Georgiou has of the “Careless Whisper” singer. Through a strange twist of fate, he is in possession of an entire album of unreleased material, which Michael failed to complete for Warner Bros.

Rather than provide the record company with the unfinished material, Michael simply paid Warner Bros. back the £1 million they had provided for the recording costs.

“We just said, ‘Listen, we’ll just give you the million back.’ ” said Georgiou. “No artist ever does that, you know, they keep the money.”

So would he ever release the songs?

“It’s not on my mind at the moment. It’s one of those things,” said Georgiou. “Probably in the future. I’d have to get a producer in to finish the record off. But I have a bit more respect than that. You know, we talked about finishing the album. I have got all the master tapes – I have got everything sitting in a vault in the West End somewhere. So right now, no, but I don’t know what the future will bring.”

 

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