David Bowie dies of cancer aged 69

Rock star David Bowie has died after suffering cancer for 18 months.

The singer died surrounded by his loved ones, a statement on his Facebook page said.

Yui Mok/PA Wire

Yui Mok/PA Wire

It read: “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.”

His son, film director Duncan Jones, tweeted: “Very sorry and sad to say it’s true. I’ll be offline for a while. Love to all.”

Bowie released his latest album, Blackstar, just three days ago, and his ex-wife, Angie Bowie, is currently a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother.

The 69-year-old’s death was confirmed by his agent, Steve Martin.

Bowie made a surprise comeback in 2013 when he suddenly released a new single on his 66th birthday with an album out just weeks later, his first for 10 years.

The star made a habit of confounding the critics - killing off his most famous creation, Ziggy Stardust, at the height of his fame - and reinventing himself in roles including glam rocker, soul singer and hippie songwriter.

Bowie, born David Jones in post-war Brixton, south London, kicked off his music career in the R&B boom of the early Sixties.

In 1969 he made his first appearance in the charts with Space Oddity.

A string of albums followed, before 1972’s The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars made him an international star.

The 1980s saw him combine his pop career with appearances in films including Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence and Absolute Beginners.

Following the news of the singer’s death, many stars took to social media to pay tribute.

Comedian and actor Ricky Gervais, who convinced his long-time idol to star as himself - and ridicule Gervais - in an episode of 2006 sitcom Extras, wrote simply: “I just lost a hero. RIP David Bowie.”

David Cameron also took to Twitter to pay tribute to the performer who was best known for hits such as Changes, Life On Mars? and Ashes To Ashes.

The Prime Minister wrote: “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.”

Blackstar, released on the singer’s birthday, was the first of Bowie’s records not to feature a picture of him on the album cover.

The third track, Lazarus, starts with the lyrics: “Look up here, I’m in heaven, I’ve got scars that can’t be seen, I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen, everybody knows me now.”

Bowie married supermodel Iman in 1992 and the pair went on to have a daughter, Alexandria Zahra Jones.

Duncan Jones, his son from his first marriage, was his best man at the wedding.