Legendary singer David Bowie died peacefully on Sunday night of cancer. His family and friends were beside him.
There had been no indication that Bowie was terminally ill until news of his death was posted on his facebook page and website, www.davidbowie.com, then tweeted.
January 10 2016 – David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle… https://t.co/ENRSiT43Zy
— David Bowie Official (@DavidBowieReal) January 11, 2016
Initial reactions on social media were of disbelief, with some people suspecting a hoax until his son, film director Duncan Jones, confirmed the news, posting the message “Very sorry and sad to say it’s true. I’ll be offline for a while. Love to all” on Twitter.
Born David Jones in Brixton, London, on January 8, 1947, Bowie’s career spanned six decades.
He was performing professionally at the age of 16, but despite the success of Space Oddity in 1969, it took three more years to consolidate that achievement, both as a performer and producer (he co-produced Lou Reed’s seminal album Transformers). Over the years he reinvented himself regularly, finding new personas to capture the spirit of the times, from the glam-rock character Ziggy Stardust and his glamboyant glittery flair to the iconic and elegant “thin white duke”.
Will Gompertz, arts editor of the BBC, wrote in a tribute yesterday that Bowie was the Picasso of pop:
“He was an innovative, visionary, restless artist: the ultimate ever-changing postmodernist. Along with the Beatles, Stones and Elvis Presley, Bowie defined what pop music could and should be. He brought art to the pop party, infusing his music and performances with [avant-garde ideas].”
Social media have been abuzz all day, with musical greats of all generations posting tributes, among them Paul McCartney, Kanye West, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Brian May of Queen and Iggy Pop. One of the most unexpected, and appropriate tweets came from the Vatican’s cultural affairs chief, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi:
Ground Control to Major Tom Commencing countdown, engines on Check ignition and may God's love be with you (David Bowie)
— Gianfranco Ravasi (@CardRavasi) January 11, 2016
Bowie’s latest album Blackstar has already drawn generally favourable reviews from the critics. It is a dark, brooding work that uses jazz-oriented backing group. John Pareles of The New York Times commented “Thoughts of death hover throughout Blackstar“ in his review.
The music video for the title track is a stunning, thought-provoking fantasy:
Bowie leaves behind his two children Duncan (born 1971) and Alexandria Jones (born 2000) – The Newsroom Team
Top photo of David Bowie from his official website.