David Bowie, the artist who transformed how we look at music and inspired generations of performers, has died after an 18-month battle with cancer.
Bowie, who turned 69 on Jan. 8, was surrounded by his family when he passed, according to his social media accounts, which posted the news early Monday morning and asked to respect the family’s wish for privacy.
He is survived by his second wife, Iman Abdulmajid, who’s taken to posting inspirational tweets over the past few days, although she hasn’t commented on Bowie’s passing.
Duncan Jones, a director and Bowie’s only son from his first marriage, also confirmed his father’s death. Bowie also has a 15-year-old daughter, Alexandria, with Abdulmajid.
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
His first wife Angie Bowie is currently competing on the U.K.’s Celebrity Big Brother. She’s elected to remain on that show for now.
Angie has taken the decision to continue in the programme. She has been given the option to leave at any time: https://t.co/xsPKtgFNW7— Reality On 5 (@RealityOn5) January 11, 2016
Over a decades-long career, Bowie released 25 studio albums; the last one, Blackstar, was released only three days ago. The tributes and memories are pouring in as musicians and fans all over the world wake up to the news of Bowie’s death.
Thank you and RIP David Bowie. pic.twitter.com/bJOeyVTZmF— Tumblr (@tumblr) January 11, 2016
David Bowie: The cleverest and most interestingly brilliant man of our time. What a vacuum he leaves, and how he will be missed. Roger— Queen (@QueenWillRock) January 11, 2016
A single bunch of flowers and a candle at the David Bowie mural in Brixton. pic.twitter.com/QuvhviOOoF— Jon Dennis (@JonDennis) January 11, 2016
MESSAGE FROM IGGY:— Iggy Pop (@IggyPop) January 11, 2016
"David’s friendship was the light of my life. I never met such a brilliant person. He was the best there is.
– Iggy Pop"
Ashes to ashes, dust to stardust. Your brilliance inspired us all. Goodbye Starman. pic.twitter.com/FbcxlAzces— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) January 11, 2016
There are many reasons to love David Bowie. Here's one. 1982: challenging MTV on their refusal to play black music: pic.twitter.com/0ku30wccVG— Charlene White (@CharleneWhite) January 11, 2016
Many tributes, many people and many flowers at the Bowie mural in Brixton. pic.twitter.com/xdlFo47UZj— Matt Collins (@charitychap) January 11, 2016
Over the past few decades, Bowie has made his mark in music and film by making it OK to be weird. As we look back at Bowie’s career, here are just a few things to add to your play and watch lists.
Bowie released the music video for “Lazarus,” the second music video from Blackstar, just four days before his death, and fans are now sure to view it in a different light.
Opening up with “Look up here, I’m in Heaven,” the “Lazarus” video features Bowie in a hospital bed singing about mortality. It’s a video that, looking back, some people believe was Bowie’s admission that he was dying, and it turns out that some aspects of Blackstar’s release were deliberate.
According to Tony Visconti, the producer who worked with Bowie to complete Blackstar, Bowie’s final album was a “parting gift” for fans.
“He always did what he wanted to do,” he wrote. “And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way.”
2) “Space Oddity”
Some music fans may know “Space Oddity” from Cmdr. Chris Hadfield’s cover in space, but Bowie’s beloved tune was unlike anything we’d heard.
Labyrinth may have been a commercial flop when it was released in 1986, but it’s since become a cult classic thanks in large part to Bowie’s whimsical portrayal of Jareth, the Goblin King.
One of Bowie’s most famous songs, it was a staple on teen mixtapes, soundtracks, and advertisements for decades.
5) “Under Pressure”
The Bowie/Queen collaboration was the one we never knew we needed—and one the world wouldn’t be the same without.
6) “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”
In 2013, Tilda Swinton starred in a music video with Bowie, pairing the ethereal creatures together in a delightful way.
7) “Life On Mars?”
Bowie portrayed many characters over the years, but Ziggy Stardust—the redheaded, androgynous, bisexual alien rock-star who traveled to Earth to bring a message of hope—was one of the most beloved. Ziggy became a gay icon and changed how people understood sexuality, even back then.
Update 8:42am CT: This article has been edited to add parting thoughts from Tony Visconti, Bowie’s longtime producer.
Screengrab via DavidBowieVEVO/YouTube