One of the most influential singers of his generation, David Bowie, dies of cancer aged 69
Much of the world arose to their Facebook and Twitter feeds being populated by platitudes and expressions of grief as news filtered out that the prolific entertainer had passed overnight. A statement was issued on his social media accounts, saying he “died peacefully, surrounded by his family” after an “18-month battle with cancer”.
The influential singer-songwriter and producer was a chameleonesque character in the pop music world, excelling at glam rock, art rock, soul, hard rock, dance pop, punk and electronica during his eclectic 40-plus-year career. Bowie’s 26th album Blackstar was released just days ago to critical acclaim and was already at #1 in the UK and #2 in the US album charts just three days before his death.
Many have hailed the work as his best in the past decades with “A work of staggering genius,” writes The Wall Street Journal while Rolling Stone calls it, “a spellbinding break with his past, a headlong plunge into electro-acoustic jazz, an album that is lyrically inscrutable, thrillingly strange and undeniably brilliant.”
The film clip for his final single, Lazarus, which was released at the same time as Blackstar, is being hailed as a secret farewell message from the singer who knew he was dying. “Look up here. I’m in heaven,” Bowie songs on the track.
Long time friend and producer Tony Visconti said the album was intended as a “parting gift” to the world, going on to say Bowie’s “death was no different from his life – a work of art”.
Fans and celebrities have rushed to social media to express their mourning and many have flocked to Bristol, leaving postcards, flowers and paintings at the famous mural to the singer.
I just lost a hero. RIP David Bowie.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) January 11, 2016
rest in peace Ziggy pic.twitter.com/7GawTAlsI3
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) January 11, 2016
RIP to a true LEGEND. David Bowie. #DavidBowie
— AC/DC (@acdc) January 11, 2016
Bowie’s musical journey began with 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, a transcenental album that first explored the idea that Bowie was infact a space alien. His adrogynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust would b a consistent theme in future works.
His first major commercial success in America came with the No. 1 single “Fame” which came from his Young Americans album and was the first in a slew of commercial hits including “Let’s Dance,” “Space Oddity,” “Heroes,” “Changes,” Rebel, Rebel,” and “Life on Mars.”
His talents extended across the silver screen also with the gifted artist performing in a slew of curious movie roles including Just a Gigolo, The Last Temptation of Christ and alongside Jennifer Connelly as Jareth the Goblin King in the 1986 cult smash Labrynth.
Sir Paul McCartney described the extraordinary artist as a “great star” who “played a very strong part in British musical history”.
Blackstar is on course to be number one in the UK this Friday, according to the Official Charts Company, with combined sales of more than 43,000.