Tributes have poured in for David Bowie from around the world and beyond, with celebrities, politicians, astronauts and even the Vatican praising the singer’s legacy.
The glam rock legend passed away in New York yesterday after a secret 18-month battle with cancer, just days after his 69th birthday.
A-list names like Madonna, David Beckham, Mick Jagger and Kanye West led the tributes as around 4.3million tweets – some 20,000 a minute – flooded onto Twitter in the hours after his death.
But his impact during a stellar career spanning six decades went far beyond his own industry, with world leaders and religious figures alike thanking him for his unforgettable influence.
Devastated at the loss of his friend, rock star Mick Jagger tweeted pictures of the pair together, adding: ‘We had so many good times together, He was my friend, I will never forget him.
‘David was always an inspiration to me and a true original. He was wonderfully shameless in his work.’
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‘A true original’ Mick Jagger posted this poignant photograph with David Bowie, saying he was an ‘inspiration’
‘So lucky to have met you!’: Madonna led the celebrity tributes on social media on Monday morning, expressing her shock and sadness at the news
First love: ‘Im Devastated! This great Artist changed my life! First concert i ever saw in Detroit!’, she wrote
Uploading vintage images of Bowie as well as a sweet picture of the two of them together, Madonna wrote: ‘Im Devastated! This great Artist changed my life! First concert i ever saw in Detroit! R.IP. ❤ #rebelheart
‘Talented . Unique. Genius. Game Changer. The Man who Fell to Earth. Your Spirit Lives on Forever!❤ #rebelheart’, the Queen Of Pop added.
‘So lucky to have met you!!!! Hot Tramp I love you So! ❤ #rebelheart -madonna’.
Kanye West hailed Bowie as one of his ‘most important’ inspirations and thanked him for shaping his own musical career.
He wrote: ‘David Bowie was one of my most important inspirations, so fearless, so creative, he gave us magic for a lifetime. I pray for his family and friends.’
David Beckham showed his solidarity for the British legend, posting, ‘A creative genius and influence over us all.. Rest In Peace STARMAN’.
Gladiator star Russell remembered him as ‘one of the greatest performance artists’ ever.
He posted: ‘RIP David. I loved your music. I loved you. One of the greatest performance artists to b have ever lived. #sorrow’.
And hours after hosting the Golden Globe Awards, Ricky Gervias – who convinced his reclusive idol to appear on his 2006 sitcom Extras – was morning the passing of his hero.
Saddened: Sports star David Beckham paid tribute to the Ziggy Stardust hitmaker on Instagram
Devastated: The star’s close friend Iggy Pop shared one of the most moving messages
Inspiration: Rapper Kanye West hailed the late British icon as one of his biggest influences
RIP: Stars from every field including actor Russell Crowe expressed their sorrow
‘Hero’: Fresh from hosting the Golden Globes, Ricky Gervais revealed his shock
Devastated: Cher wrote on the social media site, ‘a legend is gone’
In shock: Billy Idol admitted he almost shed tears when he heard the shocking news
He tweeted: ‘I just lost a hero. RIP David Bowie.’
Singer and producer Pharrell Williams called Bowie ‘a true innovator, a true creative’, and actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt quoted from his song Eight Line Poem writing: ‘But the key to the city is in the sun that pins the branches to the sky…’
Tim Peake, the British astronaut whose nickname ‘Major Tim’ derives from the song Space Oddity, said: ‘Saddened to hear David Bowie has lost his battle with cancer – his music was an inspiration to many.’
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby told the BBC that he became a fan during Bowie’s early rise to prominence.
‘I remember sitting listening to his songs endlessly in the 1970s particularly and always really relishing what he was, what he did, the impact he had,’ Welby said. ‘Extraordinary person.’
Fans: British Prime Minister David Cameron (left) said Bowie’s death is ‘a huge loss’ while the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (right) said he remembered ‘listening to his songs endlessly in the 1970s’
The Vatican’s culture minister paid tribute to Bowie by tweeting the lyrics to his song Space Oddity.
Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi wrote: ‘Ground Control to Major Tom Commencing countdown, engines on Check ignition and may God’s love be with you.’
David Cameron said Bowie’s death is ‘a huge loss.’
The British Prime Minister tweeted that he had grown up listening to and watching Bowie.
He called the singer a ‘master of reinvention’ and a pop genius who kept on getting it right.
Eddie Izzard wrote: ‘Please could every radio station around the globe just play David Bowie music today – I think the world owes him that.’
Billy Idol was one of many people to suggest that Bowie’s death was a moment of unusually powerful grief, writing on Twitter: ‘Nearly brought to tears by sudden news of David Bowie’s passing.’
Comedian Ricky Gervais, who persuaded his idol to appear on his television show, ‘Extras,’ wrote on Twitter: ‘I just lost a hero. RIP David Bowie.’
Paying tribute: Stars took to Twitter in their droves to express their sadness at the sudden death of David Bowie, who passed away following a secret 18-month battle with cancer
News: Bowie’s death was announced by his management on his website and social media this morning
Iconic: This photograph of Bowie in character for the album Aladdin Sane is one of the most recognisable images of the 1970s
Haunting: Bowie’s final music video, Lazarus, shows him in a hospital bed with his eyes covered by a bandage in an apparent premonition of his death
Meanwhile, comedian James Corden shared a snap of a service information update from TFL bearing a m,ivign quote from Bowie, reading, ‘I don’t know where I am going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring. corden
‘Farewell Major Tom .. There are no words. RIP David, another hero remembered’, Courtney Love shared, while Gene Simmons posted, ‘Bowie’s Changes and the Ziggy story songs were a major influence for me’, and Cher simply wrote: ‘Devastated… A legend is gone’.
His friend Iggy Pop posted one of the most heartfelt tributes to the fallen star, writing, ‘David’s friendship was the light of my life. I never met such a brilliant person. He was the best there is.’
Young singers of today including the One Direction boys and Tom Odell also thanked the musical hero for his incredible legacy.
1D’s Niall Horan shared, ‘Very sad to wake up to the news of David Bowie’s passing . He is a true music legend and his legacy will live on forever ..’, while Harry Styles simply stated, ‘RIP David Bowie. An icon’.
High praise: Happy hitmaker Pharrell joined the droves of celebrities expressing their condolences
Poignant quote: Comedian James Corden shared a picture of a message from Transport For London on the Underground, featuring a moving Bowie quote
Farewell Major Tom: Courtney referenced one of the star’s most iconic lyrics
Boy band tribute: Members of One Direction including Harry Styles paid their respects
Young generation: Many young musicians including Tom Odell shared their sadness
Personal touch: Presenter Fearne Cotton revealed her favourite Bowie song
Tom Odell posted, ‘farewell to a truly brilliant artist, i’ll miss you dearly’, while music presenter Fearne Cotton shared a YouTube link to The Width of a Circle’, addin, ‘My fave Bowie song. Sleep well dear David.’
American actors including Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Mark Ruffalo also expressed their devastation, with the former posting the lyric, ‘But the key to the city is in the sun that pins thebranches to the sky.’
Jemaine Clement, one half of Flight of the Conchords, tweeted: ‘It’s sad to lose Bowie, but it beautiful to think millions of people across the world are listening to his music right now.’
Together with comedy partner Bret McKenzie, he created the song Bowie’s In Space for an episode centred around the music icon in 2007.
It features lyrics such as: ‘Do you have one really freaky sequin space suit, man? / Or do you have several ch-ch-ch-changes?’
Grieving: Fans left flowers next to a mural of Bowie’s face in Brixton, South London, where he was born
Universally loved: The pop pioneer, pictured at the Isle Of Wight Festival in 2004, was even honoured by Prime Minister David Cameron and the Archbishop of Canterbury
Clement added: ‘A lot of people having singalongs finding out how complex his songs were, right now.
‘If you haven’t heard Blackstar, listen to it. It is brilliant. I listened to it on repeat last night and tonight… he’s gone…’
Chris Hadfield, the former commander of the International Space Station who recorded a video of a version of Bowie’s Space Oddity during his final mission in 2013, said the singer had been an inspiration.
Alongside a picture of Bowie he tweeted: ‘Ashes to ashes, dust to stardust. Your brilliance inspired us all. Goodbye Starman’
American fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger paid tribute to a ltrue style iconl on Instagram: lDavid Bowie is and always will be a rock ‘n’ roll legend, a true style icon and a dear friend. My heart is with his loved ones today. -TH.’
‘Stardust’: Victoria Beckham uploaded this image of the visionary musician
Joint statement: The Rolling Stones paid tribute to their musical peer and friend
Remembering a legend: Fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger shared a snapshot of himself with Bowie and his wife Iman
Paying tribute: Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling also took to social media to voice her upset
Modern influence: Swedish DJ Avicii posted a heartfelt statement
Viral video: Cara Delevingne was one of the many Instagram users to share this montage of Bowie through the ages, adding, ‘RIP David Bowie and all the characters within him’
Swedish musician Avicii posted a photo of Bowie with the words: ‘I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring’, accompanied by a tribute of his own: ”A timeless icon has left us. David Bowie you will be deeply missed.’
Model and actress Megan Gale shared a black and white image of the star swaddled in a coat in snowy New York, writing: ‘One of the best – gone but never forgotten & his music will live on forever,’ while model Shanina Shaik wrote simply; ‘legendary.’
Bowie, who released his new Blackstar album just last week, passed away from the illness yesterday surrounded by his family, according to an announcement on his official website and Facebook page.
The singer’s son said that he was ‘very sorry and sad to say it’s true’ after the news emerged this morning.
Last picture: Bowie attended the premiere of the musical Lazarus, based on his songs, in New York last month
His longtime producer Tony Visconti suggested that Bowie knew for a year that his cancer was incurable, and added that ‘his death was no different from his life – a work of art’.
A spokesman for the singer said this morning: ‘David Bowie died peacefully 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’s latest album Blackstar – described by Mr Visconti as ‘his parting gift’ – was released just last Friday, the singer’s 69th birthday, although he had rarely performed or appeared in public in recent months.
His final video, Lazarus, was released last week and featured haunting footage of the singer confined to a hospital bed with his eyes covered by a bandage.
Sad loss: Bowie with his supermodel wife Iman, whom he married in 1992 and with whom he had a daughter
He was seen in public for the last time in December, attending the premiere in New York of a musical based on his songs, also called Lazarus.
David’s widow Iman is seemingly relying on her faith in God to cope with the death of her husband.
She is yet to publicly comment on his death, but cryptically posted on Twitter on Sunday, ‘The struggle is real but so is God.’
The Somalian beauty also shared a sad post on January 9 – the day after her late spouse’s birthday – in which she told her followers, ‘Sometimes you never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.’
Iman and David married in April 1992 in a private ceremony in Lausanne, and the wedding was later solemnised in June in Florence, Italy.
They had a daughter, 15-year-old Alexandria Zahra Jones, together and she also acted as stepmother to his son Duncan Jones – whose mother is the musician’s first wife Angie Bowie.
Heartfelt quote: David’s widow Iman shared a saying about understanding the value of a moment
Seeking solace: The star, who is yet to publicly comment on the sad news, revealed she was consoling herself with prayer