David Bowie's wife Iman Abdulmajid hinted at the sad news of his secret illness in an emotional Instagram post the day before he passed away.

In the message she emphasised the importance of savouring every day, with a quote: "sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment, until it becomes a memory."

The former supermodel, 60, was married to the 69-year-old Space Oddity star for 24 years.

They have one daughter together, Alexandria Zahra, 15, and lived a very private life behind closed doors.

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She was also step-mother to Duncan Jones, Bowie's son with former wife Angie Barnett.

While she has not made an official statement since her husband's death, Iman did take to Instagram to share her sadness in a series of messages.

The latest, which appeared the day he died reads simply: "the struggle is real, so is God".

However, the very first clue came a week ago when she reposted a photo of Bowie overlayed with the words to Lazarus, a song believed to be about his secret struggle with cancer.

She followed up with more reposts celebrating his 69th birthday and the release of his last album, Blackstar.

In one image, where a young Bowie's embracing Tina Turner, she writes: "I will love you til I die, I will see you in the sky #tonight" happy birthday Mr. Bowie."

#Repost @ellenvonunwerth with @repostapp. ・・・ Happy Birthday!💥❤️🎼🎈 @davidbowie

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#Repost @rosariodawson with @repostapp.

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#Repost @zoesaldana with @repostapp. ??? #DavidBowie #Birthday

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- nzherald.co.nz