Sam Smith has credited George Michael for helping to shape him as an artist.

The 'Stay With Me' singer broke his social media silence on Monday (26.12.16) - his first post since June - to pay his respects to the late 'Careless Whisper' hitmaker, who was just 53-years-old when he passed away at his home in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, South East England on Christmas Day (25.12.16).

Taking to Twitter, he wrote: ''Words can't express how much you and your music meant and means to me. Please play his music as loud as you can today..& celebrate one of the most magical, talented, bravest & important figures in music & life as I know it. Your music & message will live on

''I would not be the artist I am if it wasn't for you. @GeorgeMichael (sic).''

Before his death, George was said to be working on a new album, which he was hoping to release in 2017.

He had reportedly already started penning some of the tracks for the LP, which would have been a follow-up to his 2014 release 'Symphonica'.

Naughty Boy - who has worked with music greats including Beyonce and Sam Smith - was set to produce the album.

He shared earlier this month: ''He's got an album coming out next year, and he's going to be doing something for my album as well. 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.''

Several music stars have shared touching tributes to the Wham! star including Sir Elton John and Queen's Brian May

The 'Tiny Dancer' hitmaker took to Instagram to remember the star, writing: ''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, friends and all of his fans. @GeorgeMichael #RIP (sic).

And the 'Don't Stop Me Now' guitarist expressed his deep shock, posting a picture of George on Instagram and writing: ''No words. RIP George. Bri (sic).''