Music legend David Bowie dies at 69

on Mon, 01/11/2016 - 09:42
David Bowie

David Bowie has died after a battle with cancer, his rep confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 69.

"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",read a statement posted on the artist's official social media accounts. 

The influential singer-songwriter and producer dabbled in glam rock, art rock, soul, hard rock, dance pop, punk and electronica during his eclectic 40-plus-year career. He just released his 25th album, Blackstar, Jan. 8, which was his birthday.

Bowie's artistic breakthrough came with 1972's "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars", an album that fostered the notion of rock star as space alien. Fusing British mod with Japanese kabuki styles and rock with theater, Bowie created the flamboyant, androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust.

Three years later, Bowie achieved his first major American crossover success with the No. 1 single "Fame" off the top 10 album Young Americans, then followed with the 1976 avant-garde art rock LP "Station to Station", which made it to No. 3 on the charts and featured top 10 hit "Golden Years".

Other memorable songs included 1983's "Let's Dance" - his only other No. 1 U.S. hit - "Space Oddity", "Heroes", "Changes", "Under Pressure", "China Girl", "Modern Love", "Rebel, Rebel", "All the Young Dudes", "Panic in Detroit", "Fashion", "Life on Mars", "Suffragette City" and a 1977 Christmas medley with Bing Crosby.

With his different-colored eyes (the result of a schoolyard fight) and needlelike frame, Bowie was a natural to segue from music into curious movie roles, and he starred as an alien seeking help for his dying planet in Nicolas Roeg's surreal "The Man Who Fell to Earth" (1976). Critics later applauded his three-month Broadway stint as the misshapen lead in 1980's "The Elephant Man".

Bowie also starred in Marlene Dietrich's last film, "Just a Gigolo" (1978), portrayed a World War II prisoner of war in "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence" (1983), and played Pontius Pilate in Martin Scorsese's "The Last Temptation of Christ" (1988). And in another groundbreaking move, Bowie, who always embraced technology, became the first rock star to morph into an Internet Service Provider with the launch in September 1998 of BowieNet.

Born David Jones in London on Jan. 8, 1947, Bowie changed his name in 1966 after The Monkees' Davy Jones achieved stardom. He played saxophone and started a mime company, and after stints in several bands he signed with Mercury Records, which in 1969 released his album "Man of Words, Man of Music", which featured "Space Oddity", a poignant song about an astronaut, Major Tom, spiraling out of control.

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