22 October 2016
David Bowie straddled the worlds of hedonistic rock, fashion, art and drama for five decades. Photo: Reuters
David Bowie straddled the worlds of hedonistic rock, fashion, art and drama for five decades. Photo: Reuters

Tributes pour in for David Bowie who died of cancer at 69

Tributes poured in from around the world for British rock star David Bowie, who has died of cancer at 69.

Bowie straddled the worlds of hedonistic rock, fashion, art and drama for five decades, pushing the boundaries of music and his own sanity to produce some of the most innovative songs of his generation, Reuters reported.

“David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer,” read a statement on Bowie’s Facebook page dated Jan. 10.

Bowie’s son, film director Duncan Jones, confirmed the death.

A spokesman for Bowie said he died on Sunday but declined to say where he died or from what type of cancer.

Bowie had kept a low profile after undergoing emergency heart surgery in 2004 and it was not publicly known that he had cancer.

Mourners laid flowers and lit candles beside a memorial to Bowie in the edgy Brixton district of south London where he was born and outside the apartment in New York’s trendy Soho district where he had a home.

Bowie died two days after releasing his new album “Blackstar”, which won some of the best critical reviews of his career. 

Among those who paid tribute to Bowie were titans of popular music, including the Rolling Stones, Madonna, rapper Kanye West and Paul McCartney.

“I’m proud to think of the huge influence he has had on people all around the world … His star will shine in the sky forever,” McCartney said.

“The Rolling Stones are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the death of our dear friend David Bowie,” the Stones said. “He was an extraordinary artist, and a true original.”

Madonna said on Twitter: “Talented. Unique. Genius. Game Changer. The Man who Fell to Earth. Your Spirit Lives on Forever!”

The Vatican said: “Check ignition and may God’s love be with you” – borrowing a verse from Bowie’s first hit “Space Oddity”.

Born David Jones in south London two years after the end of World War Two, he took up the saxophone at 13 before changing his name to David Bowie to avoid confusion with the Monkees’ Davy Jones, according to Rolling Stone.

He shot to fame in Britain in 1969 with “Space Oddity”, whose words he said were inspired by watching Stanley Kubrick’s film “2001: A Space Odyssey” while stoned.

But it was Bowie’s 1972 portrayal of a doomed bisexual rock envoy from space, Ziggy Stardust, that propelled him to global stardom.

Bowie and Ziggy, wearing outrageous costumes, makeup and bright orange hair, took the pop world by storm.

He defined the theatrical glam rock movement with the albums “Hunky Dory”, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”, and “Aladdin Sane”.

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Two women offer flowers in front of a mural of David Bowie in Brixton, south London, on Monday. Photo: Reuters

David Bowie performs at the MGD Blind Date concert at the Vic Theater in Chicago, in this September 19, 1997 file photo. Photo: Reuters

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