Legendary singer David Bowie has died at the age of 69 after battling cancer in secret for 18 months.
The star, who released a new album last week, was known as the creator of glam rock and was one of the most successful artists of the 20th century.
A spokesman for Bowie said this morning: “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 familyâ€™s privacy during their time of grief.”
His latest album Blackstar was released just last Friday, the singer’s 69th birthday, although Bowie had rarely performed or been seen in public in recent months.
It has now emerged that he was gravely ill during the recording and release of the album, as well as the making of its two music videos.
Bowie’s son Duncan Jones, also known as Zowie Bowie, confirmed the news, writing on Twitter: “Very sorry and sad to say it’s true. I’ll be offline for a while. Love to all.”
Bowie, who was born David Jones in Brixton, South London and brought up in the suburb of Bromley, began his career as a novelty musician before finding fame in 1969 with the hit Space Oddity.
During the 1970s, Bowie was regarded as one of the most radical and ground-breaking musicians in the world, ushering in the glam rock era with his Ziggy Stardust persona.
He continued to mix experimental concepts with traditional pop songs in albums such as Heroes, Low and Diamond Dogs, as well as acting in films such as The Man Who Fell to Earth and The Last Temptation of Christ.
In recent years Bowie’s career revived once again despite his keeping a relatively low public profile – three years ago The Next Day was a best-seller, while new album Blackstar – tipped to go straight to number one this week – has received positive reviews.
At the height of his fame in 1970 he declared that he was bisexual, instantly propelling him to the status of gay icon.
Bowie was married twice – he wed first wife Angie in 1970, and the couple’s son Duncan was born the next year before they divorced in 1980. He later married supermodel Iman, having a daughter named Alexandria who is now 15.