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‘Look Up, I'm in Heaven': Rock Legend David Bowie Dies of Cancer at Age 69

Rock star David Bowie, whose eclectic work spanned genres and influenced generations of musicians and the world of fashion, died Sunday after an 18-month battle with cancer, according to representatives for the family.

Bowie's death at age 69 came two days after the release of a new album on his birthday, and has sparked an outpouring of tributes.

Representative Steve Martin said early Monday that Bowie died "peacefully" and was surrounded by family, according to the Associated Press. 

"While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family's privacy during their time of grief," the statement read. No more details were provided.

Just past midnight on Sunday, Bowie's official Facebook page and Twitter account informed the public that Bowie's battle with cancer came to an end with his death. [[364831341, C]]

Bowie was born David Jones in Brixton, England on 1947 and his first hit song was "Space Oddity" in 1969. The song reached the top five of the UK Singles Chart. Bowie would go on to reinvent himself throughout the years from his alter ego Ziggy Stardust to the post-apocalyptic Thin White Duke of the mid-1970s.

He went from his dance music with "Let's Dance" in 1983, to guitar-driven speed metal in the poorly received band Tin Machine, which he fronted in the late 1980s. 

Bowie released his 47th album, "Blackstar" on Friday to strong reviews. On the same day, he also released a music video for the album's first single "Lazarus," which shows a frail Bowie lying in bed and singing the track's lyrics. The song begins with the line: "Look up here, I'm in heaven." [[364839101, C]]

The artist's influence spanned many generations, various circles and extended beyond planet Earth. When Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield ended his five-month stint on the International Space Station in 2013, the ship's commander gave his Twitter followers "a last glimpse of the world," with an outer space rendition of the Bowie classic "Space Oddity." [[364846011, C]]

Addressing early skepticism of some who believed the news was a trick, Duncan Jones, Bowie's son, said on Twitter, "Very sorry and sad to say it's true. I'll be offline for a while. Love to all." Included was a picture of what appeared to be a younger Bowie with an infant Jones on his shoulders. [[364831231, ]]

Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. The museum called him "rock's foremost futurist and a genre-bending pioneer. Bowie kept a low profile in recent years after reportedly suffering a heart attack in the 2000s. He made an album three years ago called "The Next Day." It was his first recording in a decade and it was made in secret in New York City. 

"Blackstar," which earned positive reviews from critics, represented yet another stylistic shift, as he gathered jazz players to join him.

Bowie was married twice. In 1970 he wed actress and model Mary Angela "Angie" Bartnett and the couple had son Duncan Jones. The couple divorced a decade later. Bowie has been married to international supermodel Iman since 1992. They had a daughter together, Alexandria Zahra Jones.

Producers of reality-TV show "Celebrity Big Brother" says David Bowie's ex-wife Angie has decided to remain on the program despite his death. Angie Bowie is appearing on the British show, whose contestants must live together in a house, cut off from the outside world and be filmed by ever-present cameras. The show's publicists said Monday that she had been told of Bowie's death by her representatives off-camera and "has taken the decision to continue in the program."

British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted that Bowie's death is "a huge loss."

He wrote he had grown up listening to and watching Bowie and called the singer a "master of reinvention" and a pop genius who kept on getting it right.

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Copyright AP - Associated Press
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