Legendary musician David Bowie died yesterday. He was 69.
“David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer,” reads a statement on his Facebook page, posted a short time ago. “While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief.”
Bowie’s son, Duncan Jones, confirmed the news in a heartbreaking tweet a short time ago:
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
Bowie had only just celebrated his 69th on Friday along with the release of his newest album “Blackstar”.
Born David Jones in Brixton on January 8, 1947, the artist had an affinity for music from an early age since taking up the saxophone at the age of 13 and playing with bands such as The Konrads, The King Bees, the Mannish Boys and the Lower Third.
Bowie rose to fame in July 1969 with his first hit song “A Space Oddity”. After years of experimentation, the rock legend later re-emerged in 1972 as his androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust, which he explains was inspired by the world being on the eve of destruction in a 1974 interview with American novelist, William S. Burroughs, for the Rolling Stones.
The music legend later changed his stage name to David Bowie in 1966 as it was often mixed up with Davy Jones from English pop rock group, the Monkees.
In 1983, Bowie enjoyed considerable commercial success after releasing his fifteenth studio album and pop smash “Let’s Dance” which ended up topping the charts in both the UK and the US.
Other notable albums by Bowie included “Heroes” released in 1977 and his 1972 album, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” which was ranked by The Rolling Stones as the 35th greatest album ever made.
In addition to having an acclaimed musical career, Bowie also took up acting gigs throughout his life including his appearance as Nikola Tesla in Christopher Nolan’s film, The Prestige, alongside Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman as well as his role in the Jim Henson film, Labyrinth, as the Goblin King.
In between, he has also starred in 1983 pirate comedy, Yellowbeard, David Lynch’s 1992 film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, as well as lending his voice to the film, SpongeBob’s Atlantis SquarePantis.
Explaining his various career identities, Bowie told BBC’s Jeremy Paxman in 2000:
A lot of what I am is my enthusiasms. I’ve always been a very curious and enthusiastic person. Again – this is from when I was a teenager – it really wasn’t up to me to try and identify what that meant. I just had to accept that I was a person who had a very short attention span, who would move from one thing to another quite rapidly when I got bored…. I became comfortable with that, and I didn’t try and identify myself, or try and ask myself who I was. The less questioning I did about myself as to who I was, the more comfortable I felt.
In 2004 at the age of 57, Bowie was forced to undergo emergency heart surgery after suffering from an acutely blocked artery whilst performing in Germany.
He sold an estimated 140 million albums throughout his career.