Legendary singer and actor David Bowie, one of the most influential musicians of his era, has died of cancer at the age of 69.
A statement was issued on his social media accounts, saying he “died peacefully, surrounded by his family” after an “18-month battle with cancer“.
Tributes have been paid from around the world to the “extraordinary artist” whose last album was released days ago.
Sir Paul McCartney described him as a “great star” who “played a very strong part in British musical history”.
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Bowie’s son Duncan Jones, who directed Bafta-winning film Moon, wrote on Twitter: “Very sorry and sad to say it’s true. I’ll be offline for a while. Love to all.”
The artist’s hits include Let’s Dance, Changes, Space Oddity, Starman, Modern Love, Heroes, Under Pressure, Rebel Rebel and Life on Mars.
He was also well known for creating his flamboyant alter ego Ziggy Stardust.
Sir Paul McCartney said he would “always remember the great laughs” the pair shared, saying in a statement: “David was a great star and I treasure the moments we had together.
“His music played a very strong part in British musical history and I’m proud to think of the huge influence he has had on people all around the world.”
Friend and collaborator Brian Eno said: “David’s death came as a complete surprise, as did nearly everything else about him. I feel a huge gap now.”
He said he received an email from Bowie a week ago, which was “as funny as always, and as surreal”, which ended with the line: “Thank you for our good times, Brian. They will never rot,”.
Eno added: “I realise now he was saying goodbye.”
The singer, who had been living in New York in recent years, only released his latest album Blackstar on his birthday last Friday.
The album, which includes just seven songs, has been well received by critics and was intended as a “parting gift” to the world, according to long-time friend and producer Tony Visconti.
Visconti wrote on Facebook: “His death was no different from his life – a work of art.
“He made Blackstar for us, 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.”
Blackstar is on course to be number one this Friday, according to the Official Charts Company, with combined sales of more than 43,000.
Help us remember the greatest moments in David’s Career.
Scroll down to watch some of David’s iconic moments. May you forever rest in peace, Mr. Bowie. Thanks for all the dances.