R.I.P. Starman: David Bowie has died at 69 after a 18-month battle with cancer

By on January 11, 2016

We were simply gutted to read this news Sunday night, January 10th: “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.

We’ll no doubt be posting our own tribute to Bowie here on Night Flight in the next few days, but in the meantime we’ve found a few videos and created a photo gallery showing many of Bowie’s iconic looks over the past several decades (below):

Here’s more from the New York Times:

David Bowie, the infinitely changeable, fiercely forward-looking songwriter who taught generations of musicians about the power of drama, images and personae, died Sunday, two days after his 69th birthday, according to his publicist.

Mr. Bowie’s death was reported in posts on Facebook and Twitter, and confirmed by the publicist, Steve Martin, on Monday morning.

“David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer,” according to a statement on Mr. Bowie’s social media accounts.

The multitalented artist, whose last album, Blackstar, a collaboration with a jazz quintet that was typically enigmatic and exploratory, was released on Friday — on his birthday. He was to be honored with a concert at Carnegie Hall on March 31 featuring the Roots, Cyndi Lauper and the Mountain Goats.

He had also collaborated on an off-Broadway musical, “Lazarus,” that was a surreal sequel to his definitive 1976 film role, The Man Who Fell to Earth.

Mr. Bowie wrote songs above all about being an outsider: an alien, a misfit, a sexual adventurer, a faraway astronaut. His music was always a mutable blend: rock, cabaret, jazz, and what he called “plastic soul” but was suffused with genuine soul. He also captured the drama and longing of everyday life, enough to give him No.1 pop hits like “Let’s Dance.”

If he had an anthem, it was “Changes,” from his 1971 album Hunky Dory, which proclaimed:

“Turn and face the strange / Ch-ch-changes / Oh look out now you rock and rollers / Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older.”

Born David Jones on Jan. 8, 1947, in South London, Mr. Bowie rose to fame with “Space Oddity,” in 1969, and later through his jumpsuit-wearing alter ego Ziggy Stardust and another persona, the Thin White Duke. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

Mr. Bowie was his generation’s standard-bearer for rock as theater: something constructed and inflated yet sincere in its artifice, saying more than naturalism could. With a voice that dipped down to baritone and leaped into falsetto, he was complexly androgynous, an explorer of human impulses that could not be quantified.

He also pushed the limits of “Fashion” and “Fame,” writing songs with those titles and also thinking deeply about the possibilities and strictures of pop renown.

Mr. Bowie was married to the international model Iman, with whom he had a daughter, Alexandria Jones.

In a post on Twitter, the musician’s son from an earlier marriage, Duncan Jones, said, “Very sorry and sad to say it’s true. I’ll be offline for a while. Love to all.”

 

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, assistant editor for the When You Awake blog, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.