A statement was issued this morning via David Bowie’s official Facebook page, saying that the singer had “died peacefully surrounded by his family” after an “18-months battle with cancer.”
The singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, arranger, actor and painter was a icon in popular music for over four decades. His most recent release, “Blackstar”, was released only last Friday (January 8th), his birthday.
UPDATE 2:52pm: Rough Trade records announced on Twitter that profits from January sales of David Bowie records (all of them) will be donated to the organization Cancer Research UK.
According to the albums producer and long-time friend, Tony Visconti, the album was indended as a “parting gift” to the world. In a statement posted to Facebook Visconti wrote, “his death was no different from his life – a work of art.”
Other big name artists have also come out to offer their own thoughts and condolences.
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.”
Iggy Pop wrote on Twitter: “David’s friendship was the light of my life. I never met such a brilliant person. He was the best there is.”
Kanye West said: “David Bowie was one of the my most important inspirations, so fearless, so creative, he gave us magic for a lifetime.”
Madonna said she was “devastated”, writing on Facebook that Bowie “changed the course” of her life after she saw him perform – her first ever concert.
As tributes and memorials continue to come out, it becomes clear, if it wasn’t already, how many people Bowie inspired.
Will Gomperz, the Arts editor at the BBC probably put it best,
“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 the avant-garde ides of Merce Cunningham, John Cage and Andy Warhol.
He turned pop in a new direction […] but was much more than a eyeliner-wearing maverick: he was a truly theatrical character that at once harked backed to pre-War European theater while anticipating 1980s androgyny and today’s discussions around a transgender spectrum.
He was a great singer, songwriter, performer, actor, producer and collaborator. But beyond all that, at the very heart of the matter, David Bowie was quite simply – quite extraordinarily – cool.”
There’s a website up now that tracks Bowie’s career based on your age. So if you were wondering just how accomplished this man was throughout his lifetime – compare it to your own. You can find the link here.