Bowie dies after 11/2-year cancer fight

ICON: Bowie, seen here in his latest music video Blackstar, rose to fame with his Ziggy Stardust persona


    Jan 12, 2016

    Bowie dies after 11/2-year cancer fight


    DAVID Bowie, a music legend who used daringly androgynous displays of sexuality and glittering costumes to frame legendary rock hits Ziggy Stardust and Space Oddity, has died after a long battle with cancer.

    He died on Sunday surrounded by family, according to his social media accounts.

    The iconic musician had turned 69 only on Friday, which coincided with the release of Blackstar, his 25th studio album.

    "David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer," read a statement on Bowie's Facebook page dated Sunday.

    Film director Duncan Jones, the musician's son with his first wife Angela, confirmed the news on Twitter.

    "Very sorry and sad to say it's true. I'll be offline for a while. Love to all," Jones wrote on his official account.

    Bowie married Somali supermodel Iman in 1992, with whom he had a daughter, Alexandria.

    Steve Martin from Bowie's publicity company Nasty Little Man confirmed the Facebook report was accurate. "It's not a hoax," he told Reuters.

    Born David Jones in the Brixton area of south London, Bowie took up the saxophone at 13. He shot to fame in Europe with 1969's Space Oddity.

    But it was Bowie's 1972 portrayal of a doomed bisexual alien rock star, Ziggy Stardust, that propelled him to global stardom. Bowie and Ziggy, wearing outrageous costumes, make-up and bright orange hair, took the rock world by storm.

    Bowie said he was gay in an interview in the Melody Maker newspaper in 1972, coinciding with the launch of his androgynous persona, with a red lightning bolt across his face and flamboyant clothes.

    He told Playboy four years later he was bisexual, but in the 1980s, he told Rolling Stone magazine that the declaration was "the biggest mistake I ever made", and he was "always a closet heterosexual".

    Bowie kept a low profile after undergoing emergency heart surgery in 2004.

    But on Friday, just two days before his death, he released Blackstar, with critics giving the thumbs up to the latest work in a long and innovative career.

    British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: "I grew up listening to and watching the pop genius David Bowie. He was a master of re-invention, who kept getting it right. A huge loss."