David Bowie has passed away, his spokesman has announced. The singer-songwriter and producer was influential and widely known throughout his 40-plus-year career. He had fought an 18-month battle with cancer and many of his fans were shocked to learn about his death because they didn’t even know he was sick.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. He Died After a Long Battle With Cancer
David Bowie passed away after a long, 18-month battle with cancer, his representative confirmed, according to The Hollywood Reporter. A close friend of Bowie has said he died of liver cancer, although Bowie’s family has not confirmed this information. (Read more about Bowie’s cancer here.) Rumors of Bowie’s poor health date back to 2004, when he collapsed during a music festival in Germany and later had surgery for a clogged artery, New York Daily News reported.
He was surrounded by family and he passed away peacefully. A statement asked that his fans respect his family’s privacy during this time. He has been married to supermodel and philanthropist Iman since 1992 and they have a daughter, Alexandria “Lexi” Zahra Jones. He has a son, Zowie Bowie (now Duncan Jones) with Mary Angela Barnett.
Bowie was born “David Jones” in 1947, but he changed his name so he wouldn’t be confused with The Monkees singer Davy Jones. His first huge hit, “Space Oddity,” was released in 1969.
2. The News Was Posted on His Website & Some Fans Thought the Site Was Hacked at First
The news of Bowie’s death was first posted on his website. Many fans initially thought his website had been hacked because they didn’t realize he was fighting cancer, Metro reported. The news was then shared on his social media sites and confirmed by a representative. His son later confirmed the news on his own social media account with a tweet that included a photo of him and his dad. Information about Bowie’s funeral has not yet been released.
3. He Had Just Celebrated His 69th Birthday & Was Going to be Honored at Carnegie Hall
Bowie had just celebrated his 69th birthday two days ago, on January 8. He was scheduled to be honored at Carnegie Hall with a concert on March 31 that was going to feature Cyndi Lauper, Roots, and Mountain Goats, The New York Times reported. His longtime collaborator, Tony Visconti, was going to put together a house band for the concert that was to feature surprise guests.
He was also being honored in other, unique ways. The Cincinnati Zoo had just named its first baby animal born this year — a penguin — after David Bowie, Jezebel reported.
4. He Just Released an Album & Had an Off-Broadway Musical
Despite battling cancer, Bowie was still incredibly busy with his career. He had just released an album called “Blackstar” on his birthday and had a musical, “Lazarus,” off-Broadway. Jon Pareles reviewed Blackstar in The New York Times and referred to it as a “strange, daring, ultimately rewarding” album, The New York Times reported. Blackstar was his 27th album and the very first album that didn’t include a picture of the artist on the cover, The Guardian reported.
5. Fans Are Devastated by the News
News has spread quickly about Bowie’s death and fans are shocked and devastated. Here are just a few of the tributes to him on Twitter: