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Michael: I'm fortunate to be alive

Pop star George Michael has revealed he is "incredibly fortunate to be here" after being admitted to hospital with pneumonia while on tour in Europe.

The singer, back in the UK after being treated in a Vienna hospital, also said an emotional thank you to doctors who he said saved his life.

He said he had been through "by far the worst month of my life".

The former Wham! frontman became ill in November while on tour for the first time in three years.

Michael said he had to believe "somebody thinks I've still got some work to do here", and that if he had not been "spiritual enough" four or five weeks ago, he had now become so.

He emerged from his red brick mansion in Highgate, north London, walking slowly and accompanied by an aide. He posed for photographers in front of a Christmas tree on a village green across the road from his home.

He said: "I feel amazing. I mean, I'm very weak but I feel amazing. I'd say 'touch and go' for a couple of weeks, but we played it down. I didn't want to worry my fans too much and I'm really sorry I couldn't contact them in any way before now, but I was really not in any state to."

Michael, wearing black jeans, an overcoat and scarf, looked unwell, his eyes hidden behind dark glasses. He spoke haltingly, saying he was still trying to get over a tracheotomy he had in hospital. A tracheotomy is a surgical procedure that opens up the windpipe.

The 48-year-old star said: "I'm not supposed to speak for very long, but Merry Christmas."

Doctors said he had to be treated in intensive care because of the "severity and extension" of the illness.

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