Legendary singer David Bowie has died at the age of 69 after battling cancer in secret for 18 months.
The star, who released a new album last week, was known as the creator of glam rock and was one of the most successful artists of the 20th century.
A spokesman for Bowie said this morning: ‘David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer.
David Bowie has died after an 18-month battle with cancer
News: Bowie’s death was announced by his management on his website and social media this morning
Last picture: Bowie attended the premiere of the musical Lazarus, based on his songs, in New York last month
‘While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief.’
His latest album Blackstar was released just last Friday, although Bowie had rarely performed or been seen in public in recent months.
Bowie’s son Duncan Jones, also known as Zowie Bowie, confirmed the news, writing on Twitter: ‘Very sorry and sad to say it’s true. I’ll be offline for a while. Love to all.’
Other stars paid tribute to the British singer – Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon tweeted: ‘So sad to hear of David Bowie dying x’.
Ricky Gervais tweeted, ‘I just lost a hero. RIP David Bowie,’ while Eddie Izzard wrote: ‘Please could every radio station around the globe just play David Bowie music today – I think the world owes him that.’
David Cameron also joined the tributes, saying: ‘I grew up listening to and watching the pop genius David Bowie. He was a master of re-invention, who kept getting it right. A huge loss.’
Sadness: Bowie’s son Duncan Jones confirmed the news and posted a touching photograph of himself with his father
Icon: Bowie was known for his dramatic costumes and frequent transformations; he is pictured with Twiggy in 1973
Couple: Bowie with his wife Iman, whom he married in 1992 and with whom he had a daughter
Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, added: ‘What dreadful news about David Bowie. A hero for so much more than just one day.’
Thousands of fans expressed their grief at the star’s unexpected death, sharing his song lyrics online and reminiscing about memories of him – one enthusiast wrote: ‘Didn’t occur to me that David Bowie could die.’
Despite his relatively low profile over the past few years, Bowie gave no hint that he was gravely ill before the announcement of his death today.
Bowie, who was born David Jones in Brixton, South London and brought up in the suburb of Bromley, began his career as a novelty musician before finding fame in 1969 with the hit Space Oddity.
In the subsequent year, Bowie was one of the most radical and ground-breaking musicians in the world, ushering in the glam rock era with his Ziggy Stardust persona.
He continued to mix experimental concepts with traditional pop songs in albums such as Heroes, Low and Diamond Dogs, as well as acting in films such as The Man Who Fell to Earth and The Last Temptation of Christ.
In recent years Bowie’s career revived once again despite his keeping a relatively low public profile – three years ago The Next Day was a best-seller, while new album Blackstar – tipped to go straight to number one this week – has received positive reviews.
At the height of his fame in 1970 he declared that he was bisexual, instantly propelling him to the status of gay icon.
Bowie was married twice – he wed first wife Angie in 1970, and the couple’s son Duncan was born the next year before they divorced in 1980. He later married supermodel Iman, having a daughter named Alexandria who is now 15.