British singer David Bowie died Sunday at the age of 69 after an 18-month battle with cancer. The news was posted on the artist's official social media accounts; Bowie's rep also confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter. He died two days after his birthday.
Bowie, who was born David Robert Jones in Brixton, south London, scored his first hit in 1969 with the song "Space Oddity" and secured an enduring fanbase with his early albums "The Man Who Sold the World" and "Hunky Dory."
But the singer's breakthrough didn't happen until 1972, when he unveiled his androgynous alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, which catapulted him from "cult figure to rock icon." He leveraged that glam-rock persona and popularity to produce albums for Lou Reed and Iggy Pop, before retiring the Stardust character in 1973. Bowie made his last appearance as his alter ego at a London show on July 3 of that year. At one point during the 18-song set, he told the audience, "Of all the shows on the tour, this particular show will remain with us the longest, because not only is it the last show of the tour, it’s the last show we’ll ever do.”
Though best known for his music, Bowie also had a notable career on the silver screen, appearing in films such as "The Man Who Fell To Earth," "Basquiat," "The Prestige" and the cult-classic "Labyrinth," in which he starred as Jareth the Goblin King.
Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and given the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. In 1997, he celebrated his 50th birthday, playing a sold-out show at Madison Square Gardens alongside the Foo Fighters, Billy Corgan, Lou Reed, Robert Smith and Frank Black.
In 2004, the musician suffered chest pains while performing at a festival in Germany and collapsed backstage. While Bowie initially thought he pinched a nerve in his shoulder, the pain was later diagnosed as a clogged coronary artery and required emergency heart surgery. Rumors of his failing health persisted after the incident and his appearance was apparently cause for concern in 2012, when he was spotted in New York City looking like a "pale shadow of his former self," according to The Telegraph.
Rumors he was not well continued as Bowie went on to release his first single in 10 years, "Where Are We Now" in January 2013, prompting his close friend, producer Tony Visconti, to deny that the singer had Alzheimer's disease.
Bowie released his 25th album, "Blackstar," on Jan. 8. Additionally, the musical "Lazarus," which he co-wrote with playwright Enda Walsh and features old and new Bowie songs, opened in December to positive reviews. It earned bragging rights as the fastest-selling Off Broadway show ever, according to The New York Times.
Bowie is survived by his model wife, Iman, their daughter Alexandria Zahra Jones, and his filmmaker son Duncan Jones, from his first marriage to Mary Angela Bowie (née Barnett).
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