“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.”
Bowie’s son, Duncan Jones, confirmed the news via Twitter.
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 was born David Robert Jones in London in 1947. His career was as long and storied as a musician’s can be, spanning decades, dozens of albums, and even various artistic personas, beginning with his self-titled in 1967 and ending with? (pronounced Blackstar), which he released on his birthday just two days ago.
Adopting the crimson-haired stage persona of Ziggy Stardust in the ’70s, Bowie left an enduring stamp on rock, pop, theater, and fashion by adopting the personality of a “bisexual alien rock superstar” and thus releasing some of the most colossal hits of his career with precursor records 1970’s The Man Who Sold the World, Hunky Dory (1971), and the follow-up, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972). Through it all, songs like “Changes,” “Life on Mars,” “Starman,” “Suffragette City,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide,” plus non-album hits “John, I’m Only Dancing” and “All the Young Dudes,” inspired countless contemporaries and acolytes; Nirvana famously covered “The Man Who Sold the World” in their 1993 MTV Unplugged performance, and Madonna and Lady Gaga have both built behemoth careers based on metamorphosing into various pop characters.
“He always did what he wanted to do,” Bowie’s longtime producer Tony Visconti said in a statement. “And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was no different from his life – a work of Art. He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn’t, however, prepared for it. He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us. For now, it is appropriate to cry.”
An art chameleon of sorts, Bowie was also an avid film performer, acting in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) and Jim Henson’s Labyrinth (1986). He likewise co-wrote Lazarus, a play inspired by The Man Who Fell to Earth. His latest album,?, was released just last week. It was announced that Bowie will be honored at Carnegie Hall on March 31 in a concert featuring the Roots, Cyndi Lauper, and the Mountain Goats.