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David Bowie has died

David Bowie has died after an 18-month battle with cancer, the singer's son has confirmed.

Duncan Jones wrote on Twitter: "Very sorry and sad to say it's true. I'll be offline for a while. Love to all."

Statements were posted on the star's official Facebook and Twitter accounts saying the star died on Sunday.

They 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."

Bowie released his 29th album, called Blackstar, on Friday 8 January, to coincide with his 69th birthday.

The album contains seven songs, including one called Lazarus which, perhaps prophetically, contains the lyrics: "Look up here, I'm in heaven."

The Heroes singer was famously very private but there had been rumours about his health for years.

Bowie's ex-wife Angie Bowie is currently a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother.

Paying tribute to the singer on Twitter, comedian and actor Ricky Gervais, who convinced his long-time idol Bowie to star as himself - and ridicule Gervais - in an episode of 2006 sitcom Extras, wrote simply: "I just lost a hero. RIP David Bowie."

Former NME editor Krissi Murison told Sky News the only other musician's death she could think of which was comparable was that of John Lennon.

"For a music fan, he was everything," she said.

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.

Bowie was awarded a Grammy lifetime achievement award in February 2006 and his final performance on stage was later that year when he sang alongside Alicia Keys at the Black Ball in New York.

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.

Bowie married Somali-American model Iman in 1992 and the couple had one daughter, Alexandria "Lexi" Zahra Jones who was born in 2000.

The couple split their time between New York and London.

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