David Bowie's passing has shocked the world as the music legend struggled privately with cancer for the past 18 months. The singer's son confirmed the sad news on Twitter, as heartbroken Duncan Jones wrote, "Very sorry and sad to say it's true. I'll be offline for a while. Love to all."
A statement was also posted on the 69-year-old's official Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, announcing that the star had passed on Sunday (Jan. 10). "David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer," it read. "While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family's privacy during their time of grief."
David's death comes just two days after he released his 25th and final album Blackstar – to coincide with his 69th birthday. The Ziggy Stardust icon was famously private and it was not known he had been struggling with ill health.
Within minutes of the announcement being made,#ripdavidbowie became the top trend on Twitter as people woke to the shocking news. Among those who have paid tribute to the star was Prime Minister David Cameron, who tweeted, "I grew up listening to and watching the pop genius David Bowie. He was a master of reinvention, who kept getting it right. A huge loss."
Eighties musicians Alison Moyet, Marc Almond and Gary Numan also honoured the star. "It's not often I truly cry at the loss of an artist but I'm devastated," Marc wrote. "He meant so much. Good-bye David Bowie and our youth."
Alison tweeted, "David Bowie. Our greatest, gone and here forever. A world's heart breaks," while Gary simply wrote, "A True Legend, David Bowie. RIP."
Kanye West told his fans, "David Bowie was one of my most important inspirations, so fearless, so creative, he gave us magic for a lifetime." And Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais said he had "just lost a hero. RIP David Bowie."
David was born David Jones in London on Jan. 8, 1947, but changed his name in 1966 after the Monkees Davy Jones found fame. He was in a number of bands before signing with Mercury Records and releasing his album Man of Words, Man of Music in 1969, which included the song "Space Oddity."
David's breakthrough came in 1972 with The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars – for which he created his flamboyant alter ego Ziggy Stardust.
His huge hits included "Life on Mars," "Let's Dance," "Under Pressure" and "Rebel, Rebel."
The singer is survived by his supermodel wife Iman, their child Alexandria 'Lexi' Zahra Jones, and his son Duncan, from his first marriage to Angela Bowie.