"January 10, 2016 - 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."
Bowie was known for his showmanship and gender-bending costumes as well hit songs: 63 top 40 singles, eight number 1 albums, and two songs that went to number one, according to Billboard: "Let's Dance" from 1983, and 1975's “Fame” off the top 10 album "Young Americans."
He had just released his 25th album, "Blackstar" on his birthday, January 8. A lyric to one of his new songs, "Lazarus," is "Look up here, I'm in heaven."
In addition, Bowie was a longtime AIDS activist, doing benefit concerts with Elton John and Annie Lennox, and supporting his wife Iman, a global ambassador for the African HIV and AIDS organization, Keep A Child Alive.
Bowie was born David Jones on Jan. 8, 1947, in South London. He rose to fame along with his jumpsuit-wearing alter ego Ziggy Stardust and another persona he called the Thin White Duke, in association with his 1976 album, "Station to Station." He is widely known as one of the most influential figures of glam rock and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
Openly bisexual, the singer is survived by his wife, model Iman as well as son Duncan Jones from his first marriage and daughter, Alexandria Jones.
His death came as a shock to fans all over the world. Amanda Palmer, who is herself a bisexual musician, wrote that she and her husband — the author Neil Gaiman — were devastated. On her blog she wrote of the death:
"I'm so rattled by it that I think it needs a post of its own that I can spend some time on. a hero of mine, and a huge hero/influence of neil's. it's going to be a hugging night. neil and I were literally on a david-bowie-video-marathon five or six nights ago...re-watching stuff, neil showing me new stuff. maybe we knew.
he was only 69.
love each other.
— Amanda Palmer (@amandapalmer) January 11, 2016
Famous fan and lesbian heartthrob Ruby Rose also expressed sadness:
RIP David Bowie :( this was taken last night at my gig.. He was such an icon.. There is no other… https://t.co/vJH2J43FQQ
— Ruby Rose (@RubyRose) January 11, 2016
As did rocker Linda Perry:
Oh this is terrible news. We lost an extremely important and influential artist. David Bowie has been a huge inspiration and will be missed.
— LINDA PERRY (@RealLindaPerry) January 11, 2016
The band Goldfrapp:
Bowie you gave us so much, thank you x @DavidBowieReal
— goldfrapp (@goldfrapp) January 11, 2016
And CNN journalist Anderson Cooper:
Find it hard to believe David Bowie has died. What an incredible life
— Anderson Cooper (@andersoncooper) January 11, 2016
Fellow Brit, Ricky Gervais, who had just finished hosting the Golden Globe Awards tonight, tweeted:
I just lost a hero. RIP David Bowie.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) January 11, 2016
On Twitter, Bowie's son confirmed his passing, posting a photo of the pair together:
Very sorry and sad to say it's true. I'll be offline for a while. Love to all. pic.twitter.com/Kh2fq3tf9m
— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) January 11, 2016
Watch the haunting music video for David Bowie's new song, "Lazarus," below.