David Bowie, RIP

By Gizmodo UK on at

David Bowie has died at the age of 69 following a battle with cancer.

The news was confirmed by his son Duncan Jones in a statement that was released on official social media accounts.

"David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer," he said. "While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family's privacy during their time of grief."

Whether within performance art, acting, or of course music, there are few Brits who have had such a profound impact on popular culture.

The news comes just shortly after the release of Bowie's latest album Blackstar.

A master of reinvention, David Robert Jones was born in Brixton to a waitress and a nightclub owner on 8 January 1947. He changed his name to David Bowie in 1966, to avoid being confused with The Monkees' Davy Jones. As we all now know, that wasn't his only transformation.

His personas Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, the Thin White Duke came and went, but all left a lasting impression. Who on earth was this androgynous oddball? Thanks to Bowie's incredible versatility, most of us still don't know.

His self-titled first album, David Bowie, flopped on release in 1967, but the man behind the pop/psychedelic rock/music hall mash-up wouldn't have to wait long to find success. Two years later came Space Oddity. Unlike Major Tom, Bowie had landed. His largely folky second album got him noticed in the UK and Europe, but bigger things beckoned.

Next came The Man Who Sold The World -- which would eventually lead to the creation of Ziggy Stardust -- and Hunky Dory, featuring Oh! You Pretty Things and Life On Mars. It was 1972's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars that truly put this eclectic talent on the map, thanks to both the tracks and Stardust, the alien character that went on to become an icon.

That same year, Bowie helped Lou Reed break through by providing backing vocals for Transformer, before releasing his first number one album, Aladdin Sane, in 1973. It was at this point that Bowie upped sticks, spending much of the rest of the 70s in LA and Berlin. Diamond Dogs preceded Low, Heroes and Lodger, though Bowie still found the energy for life away from music, starring in The Man Who Fell to Earth and Just a Gigolo before the 80s rolled in.

The Let's Dance album, as well as singles including China Girl and Modern Love, cemented Bowie's status amongst legions of younger fans, before mixed flirtations with heavy metal and drum-and-bass. The new millennium saw Bowie return to his roots, with Heathen and The Next Day, before the release of Blackstar last Friday.

David Bowie: 8 January 1947 - 10 January 2016.