David Bowie, the pioneering rock idol whose influence extended well beyond music, into film, fashion and art, passed away Sunday, just two days after his 69th birthday.
“David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer,” reads a message posted Sunday on his Facebook page. The musician’s son, filmmaker Duncan Jones, confirmed the news, tweeting, “Very sorry and sad to say it’s true. I’ll be offline for a while. Love to all.”
Bowie had released his 25th, and now final, album, “Blackstar,” on Friday, his birthday.
Born David Jones on Jan. 8, 1947, in Brixton, England, Bowie exploded into the popular consciousness in 1969 with “Space Oddity,” followed by such hits as 1971’s platinum-selling “Hunky Dory” (containing “Changes” and “Life on Mars”), and 1972’s “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” which told the story of his memorable alter ego Ziggy Stardust.
To simply list Bowie’s hits is a disservice to his discography and his legacy; virtually anyone who’s listened to pop music over the past five decades has a favorite, whether it’s “Rebel Rebel,” “Young Americans,” “Heroes,” Fame,” “Ashes to Ashes” — well, you get the picture. Bowie’s contributions to popular music, and to popular culture, are immeasurable.
However, Bowie wasn’t only a musician: He also had a lengthy, and unsurprisingly quirky, filmography that includes a turn as an extraterrestrial in 1976’s “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” a vampire in 1983’s “The Hunger,” Nikola Tesla in 2006’s “The Prestige” and, perhaps most memorably, Jareth the Goblin King in 1986’s “Labyrinth.”