David Bowie has died at the age of 69, it was announced this morning.
The star’s son Duncan Jones released a statement on social media: “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.”
Jones later tweeted a picture of them together when he was a child, writing: “Very sorry and sad to say it’s true. I’ll be offline for a while. Love to all.”
Steve Martin from Bowie’s publicity company moved to reassure fans that the post was real, saying: “It’s not a hoax.”
Bowie’s wife Iman, with who he has 15-year-old daughter Alexandria, shared a post yesterday, reading: “The struggle is real, but so is God.”
The couple married in 1992. Prior to that he was married to Angie Bowie from 1970-1980.
Bowie latest album, Blackstar, was released just two days ago. His ex-wife Angie Bowie is currently appearing in Celebrity Big Brother.
Bowie made his first chart appearance back in 1969 with Space Oddity. His other popular songs included Heroes, Under Pressure, Rebel, Rebel, Life on Mars, Changes and Suffragette City.
His persona Ziggy Stardust, created when he released Space Oddity in 1969, was a bisexual alien rock star. The androgynous figure became a gay icon.
Of the persona, at the time, he said: “Offstage I’m a robot. Onstage I achieve emotion. It’s probably why I prefer dressing up as Ziggy to being David.”
The legend married his first wife Angie in 1970 but declared himself as gay in an interview with the now defunct Melody Maker magazine in 1972. Four years later, he told Playboy magazine that he was bisexual. “It’s true—I am a bisexual,” he said. “But I can’t deny that I’ve used that fact very well. I suppose it’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Coming out as bisexual was the “biggest mistake I ever made”, Bowie declared in an interview with Rolling Stone that he was “always a closet heterosexual.”
Distancing himself from the Ziggy Stardust persona, he said: “That was just a lie. They gave me that image,” he later went on to comment on the hedonistic lifestyle he lived in the 1970s.
In 1993, Bowie told Rolling Stone magazine: “I didn’t ever feel that I was a real bisexual.” He added that he was “making all the moves, down to the situation of actually trying it out.
“I wanted to imbue Ziggy with real flesh and blood and muscle, and it was imperative that I find Ziggy and be him. The irony of it was that I was not gay. I was physical about it, but frankly it wasn’t enjoyable.”
Speaking on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross in 2002, Bowie was asked by the host about his sexual orientation, and whether he thought once you were gay you couldn’t go back to being straight.
The artist responded: “I was just happy… I just got my leg over a lot.”
On whether he had relationships with the men in his life, he said: “Not if I could help it. I was incredibly promiscuous, and I think we’ll leave it at that.”
Avoiding further questions, he joked to Ross: “Why would I go into that when I could make a fortune by writing a book about it.”
When Jonathan Ross asked whether Bowie thought he should try having sex with a man, Bowie said: “Such a serious and a life-challenging and changing question. The answer that I have for you would probably create such turmoil in your soul. I’m afraid I have to politiely not answer that question.”
Bowie’s latest album Blackstar, released just last week on his 69th birthday. He released 27 studio albums, eight live and ten compilation albums in total.
British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted of the star’s death: “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.”