The world pays tribute to David Bowie

David Bowie performs during a concert in Hartford, Connecticut. in1995, (AP Photo/Bob Child, File)

David Bowie performs during a concert in Hartford, Connecticut. in1995, (AP Photo/Bob Child, File)

FILE - In this June 7, 2010 file photo, David Bowie attends the 2010 CFDA Fashion Awards in New York. Bowie, the innovative and iconic singer whose illustrious career lasted five decades, died Monday, Jan. 11, 2015, after battling cancer for 18 months. He was 69. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer, File)

David Bowie attends the 2010 CFDA Fashion Awards in New York. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer, File)

London [PAA]

National leaders, celebrity musicians and actors around the world have paid tribute to the rock music legend David Bowie who has died at the age of 69 after an 18-month battle with cancer.

The singer died surrounded by his loved ones, a statement on his Facebook page said.

It read: ‘David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer.

‘While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief.’

His son, film director Duncan Jones, tweeted: ‘Very sorry and sad to say it’s true. I’ll be offline for a while. Love to all.’

Bowie released his latest album, Blackstar, just three days ago, and his ex-wife, Angie Bowie, is currently a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother.

The 69-year-old’s death was confirmed by his agent, Steve Martin.

Bowie made a surprise comeback in 2013 when he suddenly released a new single on his 66th birthday with an album out just weeks later, his first for 10 years.

The star made a habit of confounding the critics – killing off his most famous creation, Ziggy Stardust, at the height of his fame – and reinventing himself in roles including glam rocker, soul singer and hippie songwriter.

Bowie, born David Jones in postwar Brixton, south London, began his music career in the R&B boom of the early Sixties.

In 1969 he made his first appearance in the charts with Space Oddity.

A string of albums followed, before 1972’s The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars made him an international star.

The 1980s saw him combine his pop career with appearances in films including Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence and Absolute Beginners.


Bowie collaborator Rick Wakeman: ‘As I’m sure you can imagine I’m gutted hearing of David’s passing. He was the biggest influence & encouragement I could ever have wished for.’

British rocker Billy Idol: ‘nearly brought to tears. RIP.’

Singer Kanye West: One of his ‘most important inspirations … so fearless, so creative, he gave us magic for a lifetime.’

UK Prime Minister David Cameron: ‘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.’

Actor Russell Crowe: ‘RIP David. I loved your music. I loved you. One of the greatest performance artists to have ever lived. #sorrow’

Comedian Ricky Gervais: ‘I just lost a hero. RIP David Bowie.’

Musician and performer Pharrell Williams: ‘a true innovator, a true creative’.

London Mayor Boris Johnson: ‘Terrible news to hear Brixton-born David Bowie has died. No-one in our age has better deserved to be called a genius.’

UK Chancellor George Osborne: ‘His music was a backdrop to my life. An incredible icon of British creativity who made us proud.’

Actor Mark Ruffalo: ‘Rip Father of all us freaks. Sad sad day. Love always.’

Comedian and writer Eddie Izzard: ‘Very sad to hear about the death of David Bowie but through his music he will live forever.’

Comic writer David Baddiel: ‘Not just upset by Bowie’s death but disorientated: like I’ve woken up and the world is out of joint. I think I assumed he was immortal.’

Archbishop of Canterbury David Welby: ‘I remember sitting listening to his songs endlessly in the ’70s particularly and always really relishing what he was, what he did, the impact he had. Extraordinary person.’

Britain’s other ‘star man’, astronaut Tim Peake, from the International Space Station: ‘Saddened to hear David Bowie has lost his battle with cancer – his music was an inspiration to many.’

A glittering career

One of Britain’s most successful and pioneering musicians, David Bowie enjoyed a glittering career spanning six decades that saw him become one of the biggest recording artists of all time.

Born David Robert Jones on January 8, 1947, in Brixton, south London, to mother Margaret ‘Peggy’, a waitress, and charity worker Haywood ‘John’ Jones, Bowie’s musical talent was clear from an early age and he had his first taste for rock music through the record collection of his older brother, Terry.

The family moved to south east London, where he graduated from Bromley Technical High School at 16. He formed a number of bands and led a group calling himself Davy Jones.

He changed his name to David Bowie to avoid confusion with the Monkees’ Davy Jones. The name was said to be inspired by a knife developed by the 19th century American pioneer Jim Bowie.

He decided to set out on his own as a solo artist, releasing three singles for Pye Records and his debut album, The World Of David Bowie.

But the records did not achieve the huge success he would go on to experience and he retreated to a Buddhist monastery in Scotland in 1967.

After returning to London he started arts troupe Feathers in 1968. As the group eventually separated he helped create the Beckenham Arts Lab in 1969 before releasing Space Oddity on July 11 that year, his first UK number one.

A string of albums followed, before 1972’s The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars made him an international star.

The album, which tells the story of an alien rock star, saw Bowie indulge his eye for the theatrical with a string of live shows and television appearances that saw him conquer America and create an otherworldly reputation that still clings to him.

At the same time, he was producing albums for Lou Reed and Iggy Pop and writing one of his greatest songs – All The Young Dudes – which he promptly gave away to Mott The Hoople who had a massive hit with it.

Bowie’s announcement – during a London gig – that he was retiring Ziggy did not stop the commercial success and the hits kept coming as he toured and recorded albums including Aladdin Sane, Diamond Dogs and his tribute to the swinging London scene that inspired him – Pin Ups.

His soul-inspired Young Americans saw him change direction again and gave him his first US number one when his collaboration with John Lennon on Fame topped the charts in 1975.

Bowie played on his alien alter-ego with a successful move into acting – playing the lead character in the science fiction film The Man Who Fell To Earth, before moving to Berlin.

The influence of the then divided city inspired a trio of albums – Low, Heroes and Lodger – which produced hits including Sound And Vision and Boys Keep Swinging and are widely regarded as among his finest work.

The 1980s saw him combine his rock career with appearances in films including Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence and Absolute Beginners.

The rise of the New Romantic scene in the UK betrayed an obvious Bowie influence and he continued to record and tour, filling massive US stadiums and selling albums by the million.

The year 1988 brought a new venture – and what many fans thought was a new low – when he returned as one quarter of rock band Tin Machine.

Their initial success soon faded and by 1993 Bowie was back on his own with the solo album Black Tie White Noise.

He had married supermodel Iman a year earlier and settled in New York but continued to tour and record until 2003 when he released Reality.

It was his 23rd – and many assumed last – studio album and was followed by some low-key live appearances, an acting role in the 2006 film The Prestige, but no new music until 2013 when he returned with the widely acclaimed The Next Day.

The album won praise and earned him a place on the Mercury Prize shortlist, although he missed out to James Blake.

Bowie’s life in numbers

Here are some key statistics from his life.

* Five UK number one singles: Space Oddity (1975), Ashes to Ashes (1980), Under Pressure (with Queen – 1981), Let’s Dance (1983) and Dancing in the Street (with Mick Jagger -1985)

* 13 weeks at number one in the UK singles chart

* 61 top 40 hits. The first was Space Oddity in September 1969; the most recent was Where Are We Now in January 2013

* 336 weeks spent in the UK top 40 singles chart

* Nine UK number one albums. The first was Aladdin Sane in May 1973; the most recent was The Next Day in March 2013

* 599 weeks in the UK top 40 album chart, including 23 at number one

* 140 million – estimated worldwide record sales, enough to make him one of the top 10 biggest-selling UK artists of all time

* Seven million – copies sold of Let’s Dance, Bowie’s biggest-selling album

* Two – number of Brit awards, in 1984 and 2014. Both were for Best British Male. Bowie also won one Grammy award in 1985 and one Ivor Novello award in 1969

* One – number of qualifications Bowie achieved at school: a single O-level in art


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One response to “The world pays tribute to David Bowie”

  1. David saunders says:

    I am late with this comment as have been busy but want to say something anyway especially as no one else has.

    RIP David. . You have played a huge part in my life and of many of my friends and relatives.

    You were a true genious who made the world a better place during your short stay on earth.

    Thanks David

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