‘Look up here, I’m in heaven.’
The opening line from Lazarus, the first David Bowie single taken from his new – and final – studio album, Blackstar.
He even seems to be bidding us farewell in the publicity image.
David Bowie’s family have this morning confirmed the death, aged 69, of the London-born superstar following an 18-month fight with cancer.
Bowie released 25 studio LPs in his career.
Many of them simply changed the face of rock’n’roll forever more.
Some beguiled, others challenged.
None were predictable. None were boring.
‘Iconic’ doesn’t really do him justice, does it?
Perhaps there really are no words.
RIP David Bowie. 1947-2016.
You little wonder, you.
A statement issued on Bowie’s official Facebook page, dated January 10 (yesterday), reads: “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.”
The tributes have begun to pour in, as they will for days and weeks to come.
Doug Morris, Sony Music CEO & Chairman, said: “David Bowie was one of the all-time greats. He was an enormously adventurous and groundbreaking artist who remains as iconic and relevant today as at any time in his legendary career.
“His transcendent work has influenced countless musicians and captivated generations of fans around the world.
“Today we mourn the loss of a special member of the Sony Music family and join fans everywhere in remembering him on this sad day for music.”
“David Bowie’s transcendent work has influenced countless musicians and captivated generations of fans.”
Doug Morris, Sony Music
Sir Paul McCartney commented: “Very sad news to wake up to on this raining morning.
“David was a great star and I treasure the moments we had together. His music played a very strong part in British musical history and I’m proud to think of the huge influence he has had on people all around the world.
“I send my deepest sympathies to his family and will always remember the great laughs we had through the years. His star will shine in the sky forever.”
Sir Mick Jagger said: “David was always an inspiration to me and a true original. He was wonderfully shameless in his work.
“We had so many good times together. He was my friend, I will never forget him.”
Massive Attack, who collaborated with Bowie on 2001’s Nature Boy, called him ‘immortal unbelievable… a gentleman and a hero’.
Kanye West tweeted: ‘David Bowie was one of my most important inspirations, so fearless, so creative, he gave us magic for a lifetime.’
Tony Visconti, who produced Blackstar as well as many other Bowie albums including 1969’s Space Oddity, wrote:
“David was always an inspiration to me and a true original. He was wonderfully shameless in his work.”
“He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was no different from his life – a work of Art.
“He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn’t, however, prepared for it.
“He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us.
“For now, it is appropriate to cry.”
And Brian Eno, another long-time Bowie collaborator, told the BBC: “David’s death came as a complete surprise, as did nearly everything else about him. I feel a huge gap now.
“We knew each other for over 40 years, in a friendship that was always tinged by echoes of Pete and Dud. Over the last few years – with him living in New York and me in London – our connection was by email. We signed off with invented names: some of his were mr showbiz, milton keynes, rhoda borrocks and the duke of ear.
“About a year ago we started talking about Outside – the last album we worked on together. We both liked that album a lot and felt that it had fallen through the cracks. We talked about revisiting it, taking it somewhere new. I was looking forward to that.
“We knew each other for 40 years, in a friendship that was always tinged by echoes of pete and dud.”
“I received an email from him seven days ago. It was as funny as always, and as surreal, looping through word games and allusions and all the usual stuff we did. It ended with this sentence: ‘Thank you for our good times, brian. they will never rot’. And it was signed ‘Dawn’.
“I realise now he was saying goodbye.”
Music Business Worldwide