Entertainment

David Bowie dead at 69

Pop legend David Bowie has died, according to a notice on his official website and social media accounts.

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Rock icon David Bowie dead at 69

David Bowie has died following a battle with cancer, just days after celebrating his 69th birthday and releasing his final album, Blackstar.

"David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer," read a post on the musician's official Facebook page and website davidbowie.com about 6.30am Monday (UK Time).

"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 his personal Twitter account.

"Very sorry and sad to say it's true. I'll be offline for a while. Love to all," Mr Jones tweeted.

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Producer Tony Visconti collaborated with Bowie intermittently for years, working with him from the 1969 Space Oddity LP to the new album, Blackstar. On Facebook, Visconti said Bowie even turned death into art, and called Blackstar 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."

Another close friend and collaborator, Iggy Pop, wrote on social media that Bowie's friendship was the light of his life.

Born in London on 8 January 1947, the music icon with the dazzling, multi-coloured eyes released his last album Blackstar on his 69th birthday, just three days before his death was made public. 

His first hit song Space Oddity made the Top 5 UK singles chart in 1969.

But his international breakthrough came in 1972 with the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, in which the innovative musician imagined the archetypal rock star as a space alien, his androgynous stage persona Ziggy Stardust.

He experimented with rock, pop, soul, dance, punk and electronica throughout his decades long career, nabbing his first US No.1 single in 1975 with Fame from the Top 10 album Young Americans.

The chameleon entertainer made his mark on the big screen with memorable performances on film, including The Man Who Fell to Earth in 1976, The Hunger in 1983 and Labyrinth in 1986.

In 1980 Bowie played the title role in the Broadway hit The Elephant Man.

His last live performance was at a New York charity concert in 2006, according to Reuters.

The musical maestro was due to be honoured at Carnegie Hall in March. 

A true pop superstar, Bowie released 26 studio albums, 9 live albums, 111 singles, and 51 music videos. 

Australian rock band The Angels toured with Bowie on his first tour down under in 1978.

Former band member Graham 'Buzz' Bidstrup said he was lost for words when he met him for the first time backstage in Adelaide.

"Bowie sat himself down right opposite me for dinner, and I couldn't think of anything to say," Bidstrup recalls. "I just said, 'Good food, eh?'

"And from then on we watched every bloody show, and learned heaps."

Bowie later joined The Angels for post-show drinks in Brisbane, dinner at The Sebel in Sydney, and at a party in London. Bidstrup said Bowie was humble and quietly spoken at those events, but he would always remember him as he was on stage – a stunning showman.

"The way he ran his shows was just amazing. Doc [Neeson] and I would sit there each night on tour, starting off on the side of the show, but we would always end up having to go out there, out in front."

Former Icehouse drummer John Lloyd, toured with Bowie through Europe several years later, which he says was the "pinnacle of my music career".

Icehouse was approached by Bowie at a music festival in Germany, where he asked them to join him on his Serious Moonlight tour.

"We were in the middle of playing, and someone pointed side-stage and there he was, Bowie, watching us ... It was like God had just walked in to the room," Lloyd said.

"For a band in Australia being asked to join him on tour, it was just incredible, a real honour. It doesn't get much better than that."

Icehouse played several shows across Europe with Bowie, including some than drew crowds of more than 80,000 "It was just a frenzy ... British fans were chomping at the bit to see him," Lloyd said.

"His legacy on music is unfathomable. He is just gigantic. Song after song, album after album, he broke the mould he set for himself. He was just a brilliant man."

He leaves behind his wife, supermodel Iman Abdulmajid, their daughter Alexandria Zahra Jones is 15-years-old, and his son Duncan, born in 1971 to his then wife Mary Angela Barnett.

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