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Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger lead tributes to David Bowie

Published 11/01/2016

FILE - JANUARY 11; 2016: David Bowie Dies At Age 69 9th July 1973: Pop singer David Bowie is seen off at the station by his wife Angie. (Photo by Smith/Express/Getty Images)
FILE - JANUARY 11; 2016: David Bowie Dies At Age 69 9th July 1973: Pop singer David Bowie is seen off at the station by his wife Angie. (Photo by Smith/Express/Getty Images)
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)
File photo dated 10/04/87 of David Bowie, who has died following an 18-month battle with cancer. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday January 11, 2016. See PA story DEATH Bowie. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 01/12/93 of the Princess of Wales, Patron of the National Aids Trust, shaking hands with pop superstar David Bowie, who has died following an 18-month battle with cancer. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday January 11, 2016. See PA story DEATH Bowie. Photo credit should read: Martin Keene/PA Wire
Screen grabbed image taken from the Twitter feed of Duncan Jones @ManMadeMoon of a tribute he paid to his father David Bowie, who has died after suffering cancer for 18 months. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday January 11, 2016. See PA story DEATH Bowie. Photo credit should read: Duncan Jones/Twitter/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
(FILES) This file photo taken on April 1, 1976 shows British singer David Bowie is pictured, in April 1976, in Helsinki. British rock music legend David Bowie has died after a long battle with cancer, his official Twitter and Facebook accounts said on January 11, 2016. Bowie died on Januray 10 surrounded by family according to his social media accounts. The iconic musician had turned 69 only on January 8, which coincided with the release of "Blackstar", his 25th studio album. / AFP / LEHTIKUVA / STRINGERSTRINGER/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on January 23, 1990 shows British singer David Bowie presenting himself to a press conference in London to announce his new world tour due to start in Canada in March, and will take in five continents and will close in August . British rock music legend David Bowie has died after a long battle with cancer, his official Twitter and Facebook accounts said on January 11, 2016. Bowie died on Januray 10 surrounded by family according to his social media accounts. The iconic musician had turned 69 only on January 8, which coincided with the release of "Blackstar", his 25th studio album. / AFP / JOHNNY EGGITTJOHNNY EGGITT/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on September 24, 2002 shows British musician David Bowie performing in Paris. British rock music legend David Bowie has died after a long battle with cancer, his official Twitter and Facebook accounts said on January 11, 2016. Bowie died on Januray 10 surrounded by family according to his social media accounts. The iconic musician had turned 69 only on January 8, which coincided with the release of "Blackstar", his 25th studio album. / AFP / MARTIN BUREAUMARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on April 20, 1992 shows British singer David Bowie says a prayer for Freddie Mercury after singing a song in front of the 72,000 people gathered, at Wembley Stadium, in London to attend the Aids benefit concert. British rock music legend David Bowie has died after a long battle with cancer, his official Twitter and Facebook accounts said on January 11, 2016. Bowie died on Januray 10 surrounded by family according to his social media accounts. The iconic musician had turned 69 only on January 8, which coincided with the release of "Blackstar", his 25th studio album. / AFP / THIERRY SALIOUTHIERRY SALIOU/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on November 5, 2003 shows British singer David Bowie performs on stage during his concert at the Sportpaleis of Antwerp. British rock music legend David Bowie has died after a long battle with cancer, his official Twitter and Facebook accounts said on January 11, 2016. Bowie died on Januray 10 surrounded by family according to his social media accounts. The iconic musician had turned 69 only on January 8, which coincided with the release of "Blackstar", his 25th studio album. / AFP / BELGA / PETER DE VEOCHTPETER DE VEOCHT/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on July 1, 2002 shows British singer David Bowie performing in Paris during his only Paris gig. British rock music legend David Bowie has died after a long battle with cancer, his official Twitter and Facebook accounts said on January 11, 2016. Bowie died on Januray 10 surrounded by family according to his social media accounts. The iconic musician had turned 69 only on January 8, which coincided with the release of "Blackstar", his 25th studio album. / AFP / BERTRAND GUAYBERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on October 14, 1999 shows British rock star posing October 14, 1999 in Paris during a press conference. British rock music legend David Bowie has died after a long battle with cancer, his official Twitter and Facebook accounts said on January 11, 2016. Bowie died on Januray 10 surrounded by family according to his social media accounts. The iconic musician had turned 69 only on January 8, which coincided with the release of "Blackstar", his 25th studio album. / AFP / ERIC FEFERBERGERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on February 17, 1974 shows British rock star David Bowie, with his wife Angela (Angie) and his son Zowie, after receiving an award for his latest record "Ziggy stardust" in Amsterdam. British rock music legend David Bowie has died after a long battle with cancer, his official Twitter and Facebook accounts said on January 11, 2016. Bowie died on Januray 10 surrounded by family according to his social media accounts. The iconic musician had turned 69 only on January 8, which coincided with the release of "Blackstar", his 25th studio album. / AFP / STRINGERSTRINGER/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on February 13, 1997 shows rock music superstar David Bowie (R) and his wife, supermodel Iman smile as they pose for photos after Bowie received a star on the world famous Walk of Fame 12 February in Hollywood, CA. Bowie, whose changing persona has marked him as one of rock music's most dynamic performers over the last three decades, recently released his latest album "Earthlings." British rock music legend David Bowie has died after a long battle with cancer, his official Twitter and Facebook accounts said on January 11, 2016. Bowie died on Januray 10 surrounded by family according to his social media accounts. The iconic musician had turned 69 only on January 8, which coincided with the release of "Blackstar", his 25th studio album. / AFP / VINCE BUCCIVINCE BUCCI/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on July 03, 1987 shows British singer David Bowie performing on stage during a concert in La Courneuve on July 3, 1987. British rock music legend David Bowie has died after a long battle with cancer, his official Twitter and Facebook accounts said on January 11, 2016. Bowie died on Januray 10 surrounded by family according to his social media accounts. The iconic musician had turned 69 only on January 8, which coincided with the release of "Blackstar", his 25th studio album. / AFP / BERTRAND GUAYBERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images
FILE - JANUARY 11; 2016: David Bowie Dies At Age 69 3rd February 1973: David Bowie (David Robert Jones) pop star and actor. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)
FILE - JANUARY 11; 2016: David Bowie Dies At Age 69 NEW YORK - JUNE 07: David Bowie attends the 2010 CFDA Fashion Awards at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on June 7, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
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David Bowie, whose ground-breaking music inspired generations during a career spanning six decades, has died at the age of 69 after being diagnosed with cancer.

The cultural pioneer's death in New York on Sunday, following an 18-month illness, was confirmed by his family.

Musical heavyweights including ex-Beatle Sir Paul McCartney and Rolling Stones frontman Sir Mick Jagger were among those to pay tribute to Bowie's talent.

Sir Mick said: "David was always an inspiration to me and a true original."

He called Bowie's music "wonderfully shameless", adding: "He was my friend, I will never forget him.''

Sir Paul reflected on the enormous role Bowie's work played in British musical history, adding: "I'm proud to think of the huge influence he has had on people all around the world."

He added: "His star will shine in the sky forever."

Collaborator Brian Eno, who worked with the singer multiple times, reflected on an email Bowie sent him just one week ago.

He said: "It was as funny as always, and as surreal, looping through word games and allusions and all the usual stuff we did.

"It ended with this sentence: 'Thank you for our good times, brian. they will never rot'. And it was signed 'Dawn'.

"I realise now he was saying goodbye."

Others described the Heroes singer as "iconic", "a genius" and "one of the greatest performance artists in history".

Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis said the star - who played the Somerset festival twice before retiring from live shows in 2006 - said: "He's one of the three greatest in the world, ever - Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and David Bowie. There's no-one else even close."

Bowie's biographer, Paul Trynka, described the Brixton-raised performer as "someone who redefined pop music" and "a creative force who endured over several decades".

The singer and guitarist - known for hits including Let's Dance, Changes and Under Pressure, died surrounded by his loved ones, a statement on his Facebook page said.

Long-time pr oducer Tony Visconti said the late singer's final album, Blackstar - released two days before his death - was "his parting gift" to the world.

Prophetically, its lead single, Lazarus, opens with the lyrics: "Look up here, I'm in heaven," while the accompanying video shows a bed-bound Bowie playing a man struggling to overcome illness.

The grief and shock that flowed after Bowie's passing was made more acute by the fact little was known about the extent of his ill-health.

Iggy Pop, who was also among the long list of artists who collaborated with Bowie, said: "David's friendship was the light of my life. I never met such a brilliant person. He was the best there is."

Prime Minister David Cameron, whose musical tastes are well documented, led the tributes from the world of politics.

He said: "I grew up listening to and watching the pop genius David Bowie. He was a master of reinvention, who kept getting it right. A huge loss."

The singer had barely performed in public since falling ill in June 2004.

His last musical appearance on stage is listed as a three-song set at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom in November 2006, in which he played Wild Is The Wind, Fantastic Voyage and Changes. Bowie is believed to have performed in the UK for the final time two years earlier at the 2004 Isle of Wight Festival.

He made a surprise comeback in 2013, after a 10-year break from recording, when he suddenly released a new single on his 66th birthday, with an album out weeks later.

The star made a habit of confounding the critics - killing off his most famous alter ego, 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 post-war Brixton, south London, kicked off his music career in the R&B boom of the early 1960s.

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 A bsolute Beginners - as well as a memorable turn as the Goblin King in the fantasy film, Labyrinth. Perhaps his most memorable role came in the 1976 movie, The Man Who Fell To Earth.

Bowie married supermodel Iman Abdulmajid in 1992 and the pair had a daughter, Alexandria Zahra Jones. He was married to Angela Bowie between 1970 and 1980, with whom he had a son, the film director Duncan Jones.

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