George Michael had reportedly been planning a music comeback in 2017 – just weeks before his unexpected death.

The 53-year-old singer, who passed away at his home in Oxfordshire on Christmas day (25 December) following suspected heart failure, planned to release a new album in the New Year.

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."

Michael, real name Kyriacos Panayiotou, had become more reclusive in recent months and the pop sensation's final few years were marred by health concerns.

In 2012, the singer was rushed to hospital after contracting a life-threatening bout of pneumonia while on tour in Austria but recovered to deliver a rousing performance at the closing ceremony of London 2012 Olympic Games.

George Michael
George Michael performing live in 2011Ferdy Damman/AFP

This was followed by a motorway crash in 2013, and a stint in hospital a year later.

The star last posted on social media back in September, tweeting a link to a Vogue magazine feature on a new video celebrating the 25th anniversary of his smash hit single, Freedom!

Thames Valley Police were called to Michael's home address in Goring, Oxfordshire, at 1.42pm on Christmas day, and pronounced his death as "unexplained but not suspicious".

It is understood paramedics had been called after Michael was discovered by a friend, The Sun reported.

In a statement, the star's publicist said: "It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period.

"The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage."