Yoko Ono john lennon
Yoko Ono said she and late husband John Lennon shared a close relationship with David Bowie

Yoko Ono has opened up about the loss of David Bowie, saying that his death has left a "big empty space" in her life. The 83-year-old musician-and-artist and her late husband John Lennon were good friends with Bowie, and Yoko and her son Sean remaining close even after the murder of her husband in 1980.

While Bowie had kept his condition private, he did share his cancer diagnosis with close friends and family. Yoko revealed she was aware that David had been battling cancer, but said that his passing in January at the age of 69 was still a shock.

Speaking about David on the red carpet at the NME Awards in London on Wednesday (17 February) night, she said she is still trying to come to terms with his death: "It was terrible, it was such a shock, some of us knew that he was not well. Still when he actually went it's still a big empty space to fill."

Yoko - who was honored with the Inspiration Award - revealed she and John shared a connection over their artistry with Bowie. She told BANG Showbiz: "We understood each other, he was great. David was such a happy person."

Yoko previously described David as being "like family" to her and John and said that he was a father figure to their Sean. "John and David respected each other. They were well matched in intellect and talent. As John and I had very few friends we felt David was as close as family.

"When Sean was at boarding school in Switzerland, David would pick him up and take him on trips to museums and let Sean hang out at his recording studio in Geneva. For Sean this is losing another father figure. It will be hard for him, I know. But we have some sweet memories which will stay with us forever."

Bowie died last month (January 10) after an 18-month battle with cancer, two days after his 69th birthday and the release of his final album 'Blackstar'. His eldest son Duncan announced the tragic news on social media, confirming that the music icon had succumbed to liver cancer. "'Very sorry and sad to say it's true. I'll be offline for a while. Love to all, he wrote, sharing a poignant photo of himself a child with this father.

It was announced last week that the Starman singer will be honoured at this year's Glastonbury Festival in an official tribute. Two more star-studded tributes to Bowie are due to take place in New York on March 31 and April 1, featuring Debbie Harry, the Pixies, REM's Michael Stipe and Mumford & Sons.

This year's Brit Awards on 24 February is dedicated to the London-born singer and will pay a musical tribute to the star. The family of David Bowie have said they are "overwhelmed" by the public reaction to the death of the music legend.