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David Bowie 'faced cancer with courage and customary humour'

Published 25/02/2016

Gary Oldman collects the Brits icon award for David Bowie
Gary Oldman collects the Brits icon award for David Bowie

David Bowie's close friend Gary Oldman has said the late singer faced his cancer with "courage, dignity, grace and customary humour".

The actor joined Eurythmics frontwoman Annie Lennox on stage to posthumously accept Bowie's Brits Icon Award, an accolade given to artists who have made a "lasting impact on the nation's culture".

The Life On Mars singer died on January 10 after a private 18-month battle with liver cancer.

She said: "As an innovative writer, performer and rock star there was no one and nothing else like him. He was truly unique, a quintessential visionary pushing the limits of his shape shifting persona, the ultimate iconoclast.

"Gracious, dangerous and legendary, the legacy of his extraordinary sound and vision will be loved and revered for as long as the Earth still spins."

Oldman, an old friend of Bowie, accepted the award on behalf of the singer and his family in front of a visibly emotional audience.

He echoed Lennox's praise as he said: "As Annie so gracefully said, David's contribution, his influence on popular music, on culture itself, has no equal. He was the very definition, the living embodiment of that singular word icon."

He continued: "Whether in music or in life, he emphasised originality, experimentation, exploration , and in his very unique way he also reminded us never to take ourselves too seriously.

"David was funny, hilariously so, and the laughs were many and massive and I shall miss them."

Praising his "positive outlook", Oldman revealed: "I never once heard him complain. I can share with you that David faced his illness with enormous courage, dignity, grace and customary humour.

"Even in dire circumstances, when he wrote to tell me the bad news he had cancer, he added, 'The good news is I've got cheekbones back'. He was the sweetest soul ever, with the best cheekbones, until it was done."

He finished: "David, you were mortal but your potential was superhuman and your remarkable music is living on. We love you and we thank you."

New Zealand singer Lorde - who Bowie had called "the future of music" - closed with a musical tribute to Bowie's life and work, performing hits including Space Oddity and Starman.

After the show, Bowie's son Duncan Jones expressed his appreciation for the tribute, tweeting: "Just ... beautiful. Thank you."

On Thursday, Bowie's widow Iman, 60, also commended the Brits for the way her late husband was remembered.

Posting on her Instagram account, she uploaded a photo of Bowie alongside one of Oldman from Wednesday night's ceremony.

It was accompanied by the message: "Thank you, Gary! We love you."

She also quoted the section of Oldman's eulogy to Bowie which detailed how he had dealt with his illness.

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