david bowie dies age 69
David Bowie performing in his Angel of Death costume at a live recording for a Midnight Special TV show made at The Marquee Club in London to a specially invited audience of Bowie members, 1973 Getty

British singer, songwriter, producer and actor David Robert Jones, mostly known by his stage name David Bowie, has died at the age of 69 after an 18-month battle with cancer.

According to a statement published on his website, the artist "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 news of his death was later confirmed by his son Duncan Jones.

Bowie was regarded as one of the most influential artistes of his time, able to always reinvent himself and explore new sounds.

From the Konrads to Space Oddity

Bowie was born in Brixton, London, where he attended the Stockwell Infants' School. The family moved to Bromley in 1953.

Bowie had showed his above-average musical and dancing skills at a very early age forming his first rock and roll band, the Konrads, at the age of 15.

Due to disagreements with his bandmates, Bowie left the group to join the King Bees and later, the Manish Boys, a band whose sound incorporated blues and soul. Bowie soon moved again to join the Lower Third, then The Buzz and then the Riot Squad. The songs released while he was part of these groups were, however, unsuccessful.

In the 1960s, Bowie decided to rename himself after the 19-century American pioneer James Bowie, a folk hero in the American culture. In 1967 he launched his debut album, David Bowie, which failed to attract commercial attention. Two years later, he released his second album, Space Oddity. The title song about the plight of Major Tom became became a hit in Europe and later in the US and helped him establish himself as a solo artiste.

Space Oddity was followed by The Man Who Sold The World. Bowie later released the album Hunky Dory, which made him a prominent artistes in the rock scene of the 1970s.

david bowie dies age 69
David Bowie, May 1973 Getty Images

From Ziggy Stardust to Aladdin Sane

Bowie launched his Ziggy Stardust show in 1972 as he released his album The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (often referred to as Ziggy Stardust), which combined hard rock, rock and pop elements. The album remained in the UK charts for two years.

During his performances, Bowie created the sexually-ambiguous character of Ziggy. The artiste later said the character he created had started affecting his personality and private life. Bowie started sparking outrage due to his on-stage performances in which, for example, he simulated oral sex with a guitar.

In 1973, he killed off Ziggy and released the album Aladdin Sane, which helped him consolidate his reputation as an artiste in the US. He also started producing albums and songs for other artistes.

The character of Ziggy was replaced by The Thin White Duke in 1976.

US and Berlin

In 1974, Bowie moved to the US where he started exploring soul and funk and released Diamond Dogs. To promote the album, he launched the Diamond Dogs tour.

He later released Young Americans and Station to Station. During these years, his cocaine addiction worsened.

Bowie once again decided to further experiment with his music and moved to Berlin where he worked on three albums; Low, Heroes and Lodger, exploring electronic sounds.

Passionate about acting, Bowie starred in several movies including The Man Who Fell To Earth, Just A Gigolo, Cat People and The Hunger, plus the stage play The Elephant Man on Broadway. In 1982, he was given the leading role in the BBC adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's play Baal.

Let's Dance, Bowie Bonds and Blackstar

Bowie started exploring dance music and, in 1983, he released his 15th album Let's Dance with the singles becoming hits in both the UK and the US. In 1984, Bowie released Tonight, another dance-influenced album.

During his career, he collaborated with several artistes including Tina Turner, Iggy Pop and Mick Jagger.

In the late 1980s, Bowie became the lead singer and songwriter of the English-America hard rock band the Tin Machine.

In the 1990s, Bowie set up his own website and issued the Bowie Bonds, which were bought for $55m (£37m) by the Prudential Insurance Company of America.

After a decade without releasing any album, Bowie returned to the scene with The Next Day in 2013, surprising his fans. The singer released his last album, Blackstar, on his 69th birthday on 8 January.