George Michael had reportedly planned to release a new album in 2017, set to be produced by Naughty Boy.
The pop star “passed away peacefully at home” yesterday (December 25). He died of heart failure and was found on Christmas morning, according to his longtime manager, Michael Lippman, The Hollywood Reporter.
According to the International Business Times, the former Wham! star had already penned tracks for the record, set to be the follow-up to 2014’s ‘Symphonica’ – his sixth and ultimately final, full-length solo release.
In an interview with the BBC earlier this month, music producer Naughty Boy, known for his work with Beyonce, Sam Smith and Emile Sande, confirmed the plans. “He’s got an album coming out next year, and he’s going to be doing something for my album as well.” He added; “I can’t wait. I don’t know what to expect. And, to be honest, he’s more mysterious than anyone else so I’m actually excited.”
The London-born singer, whose birth name was Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, began his career in the ’80s with Wham! before eventually going onto find more success as a solo artist.
Tributes have already begun flooding in for the singer, with Duran Duran tweeting: “2016 – loss of another talented soul. All our love and sympathy to @GeorgeMichael‘s family.”
His Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley posted: “Heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend Yog. Me, his loved ones, his friends, the world of music, the world at large. 4ever loved. A xx”.
His friend and collaborator Elton John added: “I am in deep shock. I have lost a beloved friend – the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist. My heart goes out to his family and his fans.”
Queen’s Brian May tweeted: “George ? George Michael ? No … it cannot be. Beyond sad.”
Ricky Gervais wrote: “Unbelievable. RIP George Michael.” Comedian Tim Vine added: “Oh no. GEORGE MICHAEL. An amazing songwriter with a genuinely beautiful voice. Different corner one of my favourite songs.”