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Music legend David Bowie dies at the age of 69

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Ziggy Stardust has finally left to join the celestial choir - and what an addition he will be.

It has been announced that music legend David Bowie has died at the age of 69, following an unpublicised 18 month battle with cancer.

He released his 25th - and, as it turned out, final - studio album Blackstar on Friday, his birthday - but his son confirmed the news and a statement was released on his website and social media channels. 

The announcement 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."

Meanwhile, long term collaborator and producer Tony Visconti posted the following message: "He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was no different from his life - a work of Art. He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn't, however, prepared for it. He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us. For now, it is appropriate to cry."

The star had been something of a recluse for the last few years and had retired from playing live, having last taken to the stage in 2006 - it is now clear why this was the case.

In recent years, 2013 saw the surprise release of The Next Day, Bowie's first new album in ten years, while this was followed up with Blackstar, which had been well-received by critics. Fittingly, it saw the star, who never played by the rules - and most often wrote them himself - bow out with a challenging, but hugely enjoyable avant garde record.

Bowie, of course, needs little introduction, having played the roles of songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, painter, and actor with aplomb since breaking through with his 1967 debut album and his first hit single, 1969's Space Oddity. He then released a stream of hit songs and albums, changing the musical landscape and the possibilities of pop constantly.

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