David Bowie Death: Twenty years ago, David Bowie had the Glastonbury crowd eating out of his hand. After years of touring, the Thin White Duke finally performed an entire set of his greatest hits, including Heroes, Life on Mars, and Let’s Dance.
Before this performance, Bowie ensured that the field at Glastonbury would be littered with well-known songs. Obviously with a few peculiarities.
Bowie’s touring days ended four years later when he suffered a heart attack in Germany during his Reality tour, necessitating emergency heart surgery.
After that, he made relatively infrequent public and stage appearances before shocking his fan base in 2013 by releasing The Next Day, his 24th studio album.
Three years later, on Bowie’s 69th birthday, album number 25 Blackstar was released.
Tragically, Bowie passed away in his New York City home two days after the release of Blackstar.
How Did David Bowie Die?
Since his diagnosis in the middle of 2014, David Bowie had been fighting liver cancer for the past 18 months. Throughout the majority of his final years, Bowie kept his illness a secret from many of his friends and countless followers. This information was only shared with his family and a few coworkers.
One of them was stage director Ivo van Hove, who was in charge of Lazarus at the time, a play that Bowie co-wrote and for which he composed the majority of the music.
“We began collaborating on our show, Lazarus, and at some point, he told me that his illness would prevent him from always being present. He told me he had liver cancer,” he recalled later.
“During that time, neither the cast nor the musicians with whom he recorded Blackstar were aware. He made every effort to finish these two projects on time despite his illness.
In January 2015, he told Tony Visconti, a producer and friend who was collaborating with David Bowie on what would become his final studio album.
Visconti described how the treatment caused Bowie’s hair and eyebrows to fall out. By the middle of that year, it was believed that the cancer was in remission, but the devastating news that his illness was terminal arrived in November.
Bowie received the devastating news while he was filming the music video for Lazarus, one of the songs on his album Blackstar.
To not disappoint his fans, he made his final public appearance in New York on the opening night of the Lazarus stage show in December 2015.
Later, Van Hove stated, “It was written that he appeared so well and so healthy. In contrast, he collapsed from exhaustion behind the podium. Then I realized it may have been the last time I would see him.”
On January 10, 2016, Bowie died at home. A statement posted to his social media accounts read, “David Bowie passed away peacefully today, surrounded by his family, after a valiant 18-month battle with cancer.” While many of you will mourn with the family, we ask that you respect their privacy during this difficult time.”
Visconti referred to his album Blackstar as a “parting gift.”
“He always pursued his desires. And he wanted to do it his way and the best way possible,” he said. “His death was, like his life, an artistic creation. Blackstar was his parting gift to us.”
Bowie stated in his will that he wished to “go quietly” and avoid a funeral or public tribute. Two days later, he was cremated in secret.
His will stipulated that he be cremated in secret and his ashes scattered in Bali.
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