Whanganui deputy mayor Hamish McDouall can be forgiven for mourning the loss of rock great David Bowie more than most because his connection to the man and his music is a special one.

A younger Mr McDouall was just 20 when he won intellectual quiz show Mastermind with the life and works of David Bowie as his specialist subject.

Musician and actor Bowie died in New York on Monday, aged 69, and Whanganui's deputy mayor has continued to follow his career with interest for the past 25 years.

Mr McDouall said he first discovered Bowie and his music as a young teenager and was completely hooked.

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"It was after my sister's 21st birthday party, when a guy left a crate of records behind, and I was entranced."

As the last person to win Mastermind before the series was cancelled, Mr McDouall said he relied on his "reptile brain" to dredge up the answers to questions asked by host Peter Sinclair.

It enabled him to answer the question "Who played the cello on the track Art Decade on the Low album?" with the correct answer: Edward Myer.

"Sometimes I didn't get it right, like when I had to name the illustrator who designed the album cover - his name was Neon Park, but when I had to answer the question on the show I said Pork."

So what is Hamish McDouall's favourite David Bowie song?

"Ashes to Ashes," he says without hesitation. But if you ask me tomorrow, it will probably be a different one."

Mr McDouall says he will catch up with a couple of Bowie fans and have a drink, and he also has a plan to mark 100 days of commemoration by posting links to his favourite 100 Bowie songs on Facebook.

After a 20-year break, a new series of Mastermind is in production and is likely to screen on TV One later this year.