David Bowie Dies Of Cancer At 69

Tributes to the fallen legend have poured in from around the world.

Groundbreaking artist, musician and performer David Bowie died on Sunday at the age of 69. The shocking news was first shared on his official Facebook page yesterday evening. “David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer,” reads the message. “While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief.”

Met with disbelieve by many music fans, the news was soon confirmed by his rep to Hollywood Reporter, and by his son, the filmmaker Duncan Jones.

Bowie’s influence on pop culture in the second half of the 20th century is incalculable. His singular fashion and inimitable theatricality revitalized rock performance. He was Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, the Thin White Duke. His music helped sew the seeds of glam in the early 1970s, before careening off into unexplored spacey sonic realms with the help of production greats like Ken Scott and Brian Eno. Like Picasso and his blue or cubist periods, Bowie constantly sought musical reinvention through his Berlin, New Age, and electronic eras.

His acting roles have endeared himself to multiple generations of fans, from the children’s fantasy staple Labyrinth to the surreal-yet-sweet holiday special with Bing Crosby in 1977. Thomas Jerome Newton in The Man Who Fell To Earth is perhaps his most fully-realized character, but his appearances in big budget Hollywood films like 2006’s The Prestige (as Nikola Tesla) and 1988’s The Last Temptation Of Christ (as Pontius Pilate) cemented his status as more than just a singer who dabbles in movies. But playing himself in the Ricky Gervais comedy Extras might just be his finest onscreen hour.

David Bowie was many things to many people. A rock star who didn’t give a damn, a gender bending fashion icon, a flamboyant performer extraordinaire, a leading man on the silver screen. But perhaps most importantly, he served as a template for an uncompromising artist who followed his muse and his heart. Bowie was unapologetically himself, and gave us all permission to accept and embrace our own inner weirdness. That’s perhaps his greatest legacy.

Celerities have flooded twitter with tributes to the fallen legend.

VH1 Music Editor + Seltzer Enthusiast
@jordanruntagh