George Michael was ''terribly lonely'' before coming out as gay.

The late former Wham! frontman - who tragically passed away on Christmas Day (25.12.16) at the age of 53 - came out in 1998 but had struggled with his sexuality for many years, and in an interview recorded prior to his passing, he admitted juggling his secret battle alongside his touring left him ''desperately'' alone.

He said: ''I was terribly lonely. Because not only had I, by then, come out to my best friends and pretty much all the people I cared a lot about apart from my family, I was still desperately lonely.

''From this huge, huge record, it put this loneliness into such stark contrast of being on my own when I went to bed every night, and every night, and every night. Especially on tour.

''I was not rock and rolling on tour, I was taking care of my vocal chords and was in bed by 11:30 at night every night. It was just a horribly lonely experience. And the only good part of my day was playing live.''

The 'Careless Whisper' hitmaker also admitted he kept his sexuality a secret because he didn't want his mother to worry about him when sexually transmitted disease AIDS was prevalent within the LGBT community.

Speaking to Kirsty Young in the first part of a two-part interview broadcast on BBC Radio 2 on Wednesday (01.11.17), he said: ''I wasn't ready to come out. It was in the era of AIDs, and I had no concerns about coming out for that reason, other than my family.

''I come from a very close knit family. When my mother was alive, God bless her, she would have immediately assumed the same paranoias that I did as a gay man about AIDs in the mid 80s. It was not a good time for the gay community, so for my mother's sake and my sister's sake, I didn't want them to kind of look at my life as a dangerous place.

''And if I'm really honest, I think something, somebody, some entity, wasn't ready to let me have a full life. I still had to make more records, I still had to find the next creative step.''