Fans and fellow musicians are in mourning today following the announcement that iconic performer David Bowie has died aged 69.
An official statement which was shared via social media read:
“David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer. While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief.”
The news was then confirmed in a tweet by his son Duncan Jones.
Very sorry and sad to say it's true. I'll be offline for a while. Love to all. pic.twitter.com/Kh2fq3tf9m
— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) January 11, 2016
Within minutes, social media sites, notably Twitter, were flooded with messages of condolence from some of the biggest music stars in the world.
The Rolling Stones are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the death of our dear friend David Bowie… 1/2
— The Rolling Stones (@RollingStones) January 11, 2016
As well as being a wonderful and kind man, he was an extraordinary artist, and a true original. 2/2 #DavidBowie
— The Rolling Stones (@RollingStones) January 11, 2016
Nearly brought to tears by sudden news of @DavidBowieReal David Bowie's passing RIP
— Billy Idol (@BillyIdol) January 11, 2016
— JARED LETO (@JaredLeto) January 11, 2016
A LEGEND IS GONE✨?✨
— Cher (@cher) January 11, 2016
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) January 11, 2016
At the news of David Bowie's death I feel a Deep and profound sadness.I send my heart felt condolences to Iman & his children for their loss
— Lulu (@lulushouts) January 11, 2016
— Madonna (@Madonna) January 11, 2016
Rest in peace, David. pic.twitter.com/9Kv9yM9igh
— Foo Fighters (@foofighters) January 11, 2016
RIP to a true LEGEND. David Bowie. #DavidBowie
— AC/DC (@acdc) January 11, 2016
David Bowie was a huge influence on me throughout my life. The original star-man returned to the stars…
— florence welch (@flo_tweet) January 11, 2016
UK Prime Minister David Cameron also tweeted:
I grew up listening to and watching the pop genius David Bowie. He was a master of re-invention, who kept getting it right. A huge loss.
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) January 11, 2016
Ricky Gervais, who last night hosted the Golden Globes, posted:
I just lost a hero. RIP David Bowie.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) January 11, 2016
Saddened to hear David Bowie has lost his battle with cancer – his music was an inspiration to many. @DavidBowieReal
— Tim Peake (@astro_timpeake) January 11, 2016
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) January 11, 2016
David Bowie was soon the top trending topic on both sides of the Atlantic.
Posting on his Facebook page, Placebo’s Brian Molko wrote a lengthy tribute to Bowie saying:
“Wherever you are now, I miss you. Not only do I miss you but my heart is broken. You were my idol, then you became my mentor and my friend…I learnt so much from you, just by being in your presence, the conversations we had and, of course, watching you perform. Float around the ether, David. Bounce gracefully off planets light-years away as you become one with the Universe, as you dive into the Great Unknown…Dear David, beautiful man and force of nature, you are immortal. You live beyond the veil of the big sleep.”
Brian Eno, who worked with Bowie on several of the singers’ albums including Low, Heroes and Lodger, upon hearing of the death of his good friend, released a statement which read:
“David’s death came as a complete surprise, as did nearly everything else about him. I feel a huge gap now. We knew each other for over 40 years, in a friendship that was always tinged by echoes of comic characters Pete and Dud. Over the last few years – with him living in New York and me in London – our connection was by email. We signed off with invented names: some of his were Mr Showbiz, Milton Keynes, Rhoda Borrocks and the Duke of Ear. I received an email from him seven days ago. It was as funny as always, and as surreal, looping through word games and allusions and all the usual stuff we did. It ended with this sentence: ‘Thank you for our good times, Brian. they will never rot’. And it was signed ‘Dawn’. I realise now he was saying goodbye.”
Train stations across the British capital also remembered Bowie with their quote of the day:
David Bowie tribute at East Finchley tube station this morning via @charlienin pic.twitter.com/uOuAIiTTYr
— Wellbelove (@wellbelove) January 11, 2016
Bowie’s ex-wife Angie, currently starring in the latest series of Celebrity Big Brother, was informed of his death off-camera but last night, fans of the show saw her break down in tears in the diary room, admitting:
“I haven’t seen him for so many years. I can’t make a big drama out of it. I just feel like an era has ended with his passing. I’m so very sad.”
As she was joined by house-mates David Gest and John Partidge, she bowed her head and said:
“Stardust is gone.”
Throughout the evening, thousands of fans gathered across the country to remember and celebrate their musical icon. Outside the Ritzy cinema in Brixton, “David Bowie, Our Brixton Boy RIP” replaced the names of the showing films while a mass sing-along of “Starman”, along with a number of other hits, was soon the talk of Twitter.
People singing 'Rebel, rebel' at David Bowie's memorial-street party in Brixton pic.twitter.com/8xebtLMrHg
— Duarte Romero-Varela (@Duarte_RV) January 11, 2016
As the newspapers went to press, all of the UK editions featured Bowie on their front pages. Some of the most notable covers were those of the Guardian, The Independent and The Times.
On January 12, Panic At The Disco, in tribute, said that all proceeds from the sale of merchandise at their London show that night would be donated to Cancer Research.
— Panic! At The Disco (@PanicAtTheDisco) January 12, 2016
Bowie, whose birth name was David Robert Jones, was born in Brixton, South London. on January 8th, 1947. He released his first album in 1967, beginning a career which would span more than four decades.
As his fame grew and saw him create the alter-ego Ziggy Stardust, Bowie found it difficult to cope and a problem with drug addiction followed. When he re-emerged in the music world, he did so with a much more clean cut image and sound. “Let’s Dance” proved to be hugely successful, but it wasn’t the Bowie many had come to know and love. He went on to have a starring role in the 1986 film Labyrinth.
More recently, his much-loved and hotly anticipated live performances had become rarer and rarer, then, in 2013, an older and visibly frailer Bowie appeared in the video for “Where Are We Now?”
Bowie released his latest, and what would prove to be his last, album titled Blackstar on Friday, his 69th birthday. There is, somewhat eerily, a track on the collection titled Lazarus, which is about dying.
One of the lyrics is “I’ve got nothing left to lose” – that may be true, but for his fans around the world, they’ve lost an artist they loved who impacted and ultimately changed the music world forever.