David Bowie has died age 69

By Russell Baillie, Francis Cook, Patrice Dougan

David Bowie performs during a concert. Photo / AP
David Bowie performs during a concert. Photo / AP

David Bowie has died aged 69 following a battle with cancer.

His son confirmed the news on Twitter saying: "Very sorry and sad to say it's true."


Sky News said the singer's publicist has confirmed the death.

Statements have also been posted on Bowie's official Facebook and Twitter accounts.

January 10 2016 - David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with...

Posted by David Bowie on Sunday, January 10, 2016

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On his Facebook page, the latest post reads: "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 family's privacy during their time of grief."

SHARE YOUR BOWIE MEMORIES. SEND US AN EMAIL

Fans are already mourning the singer, posting moving tributes to a much loved icon.



British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted his condolences.


Even the Archbishop of Canterbury expressed sorrow.



Bowie even got a tweet from space, with a tribute from astronaut Tim Peake.




The death comes a week after the release of his latest album Blackstar, coinciding with his 69th birthday.

The dark, anti-pop album dealt with themes of illness and death. It's revealed today that he wrote the album while battling cancer.


Critics were quick to praise the new work as some of the most innovative of his long and varied career.


It was Bowie's first offering since The Next Day in 2013. His last live performance was at a New York charity concert in 2006.

Though Blackstar only featured seven songs, a reviewer for Britain's Guardian newspaper labelled it: "a spellbinding break with (Bowie's) past".

Bowie proved an influence on a generation of New Zealand acts including Alastair Riddell and his band Space Waltz and a young Neil Finn, whose side project later in his career, The Pyjama Club, covered his song Moonage Daydream.





Bowie played New Zealand four times in his career, which spanned almost five decades.

As well as playing in New Zealand, Bowie also spent time during the filming of the movie Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence in which he played the lead role of a British soldier in a Japanese prison camp which was partly shot in Auckland.

He first played 'Down Under' in 1978, when he brought his Low/Heroes Tour to Australia and New Zealand. He rocked out Christchurch's Queen Elizabeth Park - the one and only time he played in the South Island - and Auckland's Western Springs.

Fans in the Garden City described it as one of the best shows they had seen.

David Bowie also featured in films including the 80s classic Labyrinth. Photo / Supplied
David Bowie also featured in films including the 80s classic Labyrinth. Photo / Supplied

The Auckland gig on December 2 that year, broke a national attendance record - with the 41,000 strong crowd reportedly the largest in the history of New Zealand concerts.

In 1983 Bowie brought his Serious Moonlight Tour to New Zealand, it coincided with his biggest album, Let's Dance, and his biggest ever concert audiences.

The staging was reportedly some of his most elaborate since 1974, and included four enormous translucent polythene columns, high neoclassical lintels and a giant hand sitting on stage right and a glittering crescent moon on stage left.


He landed in Wellington on November 22 with an entourage of 96. He stopped briefly to speak to a TV crew, saying: "I can't believe we've got through such a long period. I could quite happily go on for longer. The people on the tour have been so good, so much fun; there's no narcotics on this tour.

"Also I am determined to get out more this time and have hired a car to go driving, not the chauffeur car, just by myself."

He made newspaper headlines here for his back-stage demands, which included a bowl of raw fish before each performance. However, his promoter at the time, Hugh Lynn, said his demands were not excessive compared with other rock stars who had performed in New Zealand.

A day later, Bowie became the first rock star in history to visit a marae, being welcomed onto Takapuwahia Marae in Porirua. He performed a short exclusive song written for the occasion called Waiata.

Bowie played Athletic Park in Wellington, and returned to Western Springs in Auckland. Fans travelled on special flights into the capital, which had been scheduled for the influx of people, and a train brought fans from Christchurch and Dunedin.

But the show was marred by reports of rowdy fan behaviour, with "boisterous bottle throwers", and one incident which prompted Bowie to stop his performance after he was told by security that a person was down and not being attended to.

At Western Springs Bowie again made history, with the 74,480 strong crowd the largest ever recorded at an Australasian concert. It was believed to be the largest single crowd gathering in New Zealand's history, and won a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest crowd gathering per head of population anywhere in the world.

There were "bonfires up on the hills around the site", according to the publication David Bowie's Serious Moonlight The World Tour.

Iman and her husband, singer David Bowie arrive at the Council of Fashion Designers of America Fashion Awards in New York in 2002. Photo / AP
Iman and her husband, singer David Bowie arrive at the Council of Fashion Designers of America Fashion Awards in New York in 2002. Photo / AP

At the end of the gig, Bowie spoke out against the nuclear arms race, saying: "I wish our world leaders would stop their insane inability to recognise that we wish to live peacefully", and released two white doves into the sky before singing his encore.

New Zealand comedy duo Flight of the Conchords performed a mash-up parody of Bowie's songs and stylistic changes entitled Bowie's In Space on their television show.

Herald reader Sally Conway wrote: "Saw Bowie at Milton Keynes in 1983. Serious moonlight tour. Gutted by the news. What a loss."

Recalling her memories of Bowie, Julie Sorensen wrote: "Concerts at Western Springs and getting my hair cut like his in the 80's even though I was a girl... Rest in peace David Bowie, thank you for your music, movies and your exceptional style."

James Bangerter wrote: "One of my enduring memories of the early eighties was attending my first concert at Western Springs. David Bowie was the coolest guy of the times and he will be remembered as an icon. RIP David"

Meanwhile, Bernie said Bowie's 1983 was the "concert of my life. You are in one of 2 categories after this show; was there...was not there. The latter sux. I got therewhen the gates opened. Bowie rocked, the fence got pushed over. The numbers always change; 50,000? 60,000? 70,000? It felt like a million. RIP David. One of the influecers; Beatles, Stones, Who, Floyd, Zepoelin, Bowie. RIP David. The boy from Bromley dun good."

Nicola Giles reminisced on skipping exams for the Auckland concert: "Bursary? or Bowie? Well here's the proof he *was* here at Western Springs in '83 - great break from impending 7th Form Bursary exams - a double same day whammy of Physics and German ahead on the Tuesday... $28 the ticket - could that reeeally be Mr Paul Dainty??! Sad news from a rock legend - his music lives on! Now there really is a star man waiting in the sky!"

- nzherald.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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