George Michael, ex Wham! singer and iconic solo artist, is dead at age 53, the BBC reports. Earlier in December, it was announced that Michael was working on a new album with producer Naughty Boy, and in George Michael's last Instagram photo, the British singer posted an image teasing his upcoming documentary, Freedom.
The black and white photo, depicting an excited crowd, was posted seven weeks ago to the Instagram account @georgemichaelofficial, which is run by the georgemichael.com team. According to The Sun, Michael was set to release a documentary that took fans on a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Michael's second solo album, Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1, released in 1990. The Instagram photo's caption revealed that the final film was scheduled to be released in the spring of 2017. "George Michael is busy putting the finishing touches to his special documentary film ‘Freedom’," the caption reads. "He has discovered some incredible, unseen archive footage and is shooting additional interviews for the project so the film will now air in March 2017.It promises to be a real treat for fans! To coincide with the film’s broadcast, George and Sony Music have decided to move the reissue of the Listen Without Prejudice album to the same time."
The documentary reportedly features interviews from other '90s icons including Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford, who starred in Michael's "Freedom! 90" music video, and according to The Sun, the film is narrated by Michael himself.
Michael was a hugely influential singer, and his album Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 featured songs written by Michael as well as collaborations with Mick Jagger, Stevie Wonder, and Keith Richards. Popular hits from the album, which sold eight million copies, included "Freedom! 90," "Praying for Time" and "Mother's Pride." The release of the documentary more than 25 years after the album's initial debut is a testament to Michael's tremendous legacy, and the March 2017 timing of the film will double as a tribute for fans still reeling from the sad news of Michael's death.
In a statement issued to The Mirror, Michael'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."
Whether or not you were already a fan of George Michael's work, Freedom promises to be a thorough look at a true artist at work, and the cultural influences that inspired him. While the world mourns the loss of an incredible singer, the documentary is a stunning acknowledgement of his musical contributions to today's pop scene.