Music world mourns loss of David Bowie.
David Bowie, the chameleonlike star who transformed the sound — and the look — of rock with his audacious creativity and his sexually ambiguous makeup and costumes, died of cancer Sunday.
Bowie, whose hits included “Space Oddity,” ”Fame,“”Heroes“and ”Let’s Dance,“died surrounded by family, representative Steve Martin said early Monday. The singer, who was 69, had fought cancer for 18 months.
Long before alter egos and wild outfits became commonplace in pop, Bowie turned the music world upside down with the release of the 1972 album, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” which introduced one of music’s most famous personas. “Ziggy Stardust” was a concept album that imagined a rock star from outer space trying to make his way in the music world. The persona - the red-headed, eyeliner wearing Stardust - would become an enduring part of Bowie’s legacy, and a touchstone for the way entertainers packaged themselves for years to come.
Bowie’s birthday was Friday, the same day as he released his new album, “Blackstar.”
A statement on social media asked fan’s to respect the family’s privacy. No more details were provided.
Born David Jones in London, the singer came of age in the early 1970s glam rock era. He had a striking androgynous look in his early days and was known for changing his appearance and sounds. After “Ziggy Stardust,” the stuttering rock sound of “Changes” gave way to the disco soul of “Fame,” co-written with John Lennon, to a droning collaboration with Brian Eno in Berlin that produced “Heroes.”
He had some of his biggest successes in the early 1980s with the bombastic “Let’s Dance,” and a massive American tour. Another one of his definitive songs was “Under Pressure,” which he recorded with Queen; Vanilla Ice would years later infamously use the song’s hook for his smash hit “Ice Ice Baby.”
“My entire career, I’ve only really worked with the same subject matter,” Bowie told The Associated Press in a 2002 interview. “The trousers may change, but the actual words and subjects I’ve always chosen to write with are things to do with isolation, abandonment, fear and anxiety — all of the high points of one’s life.”
Bowie lived in West Berlin in the late 1970s and Mayor Michael Mueller said Monday that “Heroes” became “the hymn of our then-divided city and its longing for freedom.”
Germany’s Foreign Ministry added Bowie was “now among heroes” and thanked him for “helping to bring down the wall.”
Bowie’s performance of “Heroes” was also a highlight at a concert for rescue workers after the 2001 World Trade Center attacks.
“What I’m most proud of is that I can’t help but notice that I’ve affected the vocabulary of pop music. For me, frankly, as an artist, that’s the most satisfying thing for the ego,” Bowie said.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, but he didn’t attend the ceremony. Madonna accepted for him and recounted how a Bowie concert changed her life when she attended it as a teenager.
In this Dec. 15, 2003, file photo, singer/songwriter David Bowie launches his United States leg of his worldwide tour called “A Reality Tour,” at Madison Square Garden in New York.