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David Bowie, colossus of modern music, dies aged 69

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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Lord Snowdon's portrait of David Bowie will feature in the new exhibition at National Portrait Gallery

British music legend David Bowie has died aged 69, it has been confirmed.

A statement issued by his publicist this morning said: "David Bowie died peacefully 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."

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

His agent Steve Martin confirmed the news of the 69-year-old's death.

Paying tribute to the singer on Twitter, comedian and actor Ricky Gervais, who convinced his long-time idol Bowie to star as himself - and ridicule Gervais - in an episode of 2006 sitcom Extras, wrote simply: "I just lost a hero. RIP David Bowie."

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's followers initially rejected the statement as a "hoax", but Sky News reported it had spoken to the singer's publicist to confirm the news.

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 post-war Brixton, south London, kicked off 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.

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 rockstar, 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.

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 last year 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.

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