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Summary

  1. David Bowie dies of cancer, spokesman confirms
  2. His son Duncan Jones confirms his father's death on Twitter
  3. Tributes flood in for singer, who died aged 69
  4. All times GMT

Live reporting

By Kev Geoghegan, Emma Saunders, Joel Gunter and Emma Ailes

All times stated are UK

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'Thank you, and remember, if it itches, play it'

We are going to close our live coverage here, thank you for following. We'll leave you with some of David Bowie's own words, spoken to graduating music students at Berklee College, Massachusetts, in 1999.

Music has given me over 40 years of extraordinary experiences. I can't say that life's pains or more tragic episodes have been diminished because of it.

But it's allowed me so many moments of companionship when I've been lonely and a sublime means of communication when I wanted to touch people.

It's been both my doorway of perception and the house that I live in. I only hope that it embraces you with the same lusty life force that it graciously offered me.

Thank you very much and remember, if it itches, play it.

David Bowie
Getty Images

Chris Hadfield: 'I'm delighted I got to play a little part'

Astronaut Chris Hadfield, who recorded a hugely popular cover of Bowie's Space Oddity on the International Space Station, spoke to the BBC about his affection for the singer.

I was so sad to wake up this morning to the news ... The whole span of my adult life I've been listening to David Bowie so it is an irretrievable loss. It saddens me. I'm just delighted I got to play a little part in everything he's done.

Commander Hadfield said that when people heard there was a musician on board the ISS there was a clamour on social media for him to record a version of Space Oddity. You can watch his hugely popular recording below.

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Tears, hugs and an impromptu singalong in Brixton

BBC reporter Lauren Turner in Brixton

Brixton mural
AP

Someone brought a guitar to the mural in Brixton, south London, where David Bowie grew up, where crowds have been laying flowers during the day, and started impromptu singalong of hits including Ziggy Stardust, Changes and Starman.

There was a celebratory atmosphere in some parts of the crowd, while others were in tears, being comforted with hugs.

The crowd was a mixture of locals walking past on their way from work and fans who had made a pilgrimage. Some brought candles and held them up in the dark night sky.

Bowie's Starman debut

BBC Radio 5 live listener Alan describes the experience of hearing David Bowie's Starman when it was performed for the first time.

Bowie performed with his band - including guitarist Mick Ronson - when he was in his Ziggy Stardust phase.

Speaking to 5 live's Rachel Burden, Alan said the audience comprised of just 35 people, and that Bowie was the "most charming man".

5 live listener Alan describes hearing Starman performed for the first time - in a pub.

Bowie dominates Twitter

The death of David Bowie has, unsurprisingly, dominated social media today.

Tweets about the Starman singer peaked at 20,000 a minute in the hour after his death was announced at 0700 GMT.  

The most tweeted about of his songs today is his 1977 song Heroes.

These are the most-Tweeted David Bowie songs (by title) today. Ground Control to Major Tom, commencing countdown...

These are the most-Tweeted David Bowie songs (by title) today. Ground Control to Major Tom, commencing countdown...

Madonna: Bowie 'changed the course of my life forever'

Madonna has paid tribute to Bowie in a message posted to her Facebook page.

Facebook
Facebook

Frank Cottrell Boyce: Bowie 'screwed up a lot'

BBC Radio 4

Author and scriptwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce has told the BBC that what made David Bowie great was the fact that, despite the occasional creative misfire, he always managed to revive his career in the most dramatic way. 

"If you are true to your genius, then sometimes it will throw you over a waterfall," he told Radio 4's PM programme. "But then you'll bob back up again, as long as you keep faith in yourself."

Columbia Records: 'We are deeply saddened'

Bowie's record company has put out a statement, saying it was "an honour" to release his music.

We are deeply saddened by the loss of David Bowie. It was an honour and a privilege to release his music to the world.

'He always wanted to be a kind of blaze of glory'

Dana Gillespie was a former girlfriend of Bowie and sang on some of his tracks, including It Ain't Easy from the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars.

She told BBC Radio 5 Live: "He always wanted to be a kind of blaze of glory and stardust - this he has become."

Ex-girlfriend who sang on Bowie's album: 'He has left a fantastic musical legacy'

David Bowie: Did he change attitudes to sexuality?

David Bowie
BBC

The Bowie exhibition at London's V&A Museum back in 2013 was a sell-out. It showed how, in the 1970s, David Bowie's passport to fame was his daringly ambiguous sexuality. But did appearances deceive?

Read more.

Bowie in Russia

Famil Ismailov

News editor, BBC Russian Service

David Bowie
Reuters

David Bowie gave just one concert in Russia in 1996. It was a flop. Wrong venue - the Kremlin Palace of Congresses, wrong audience - the first rows were filled with new Russia's rich and former party apparatchiks with stony faces. 

According to legend, Bowie (pictured above in Athens in '96) was so shocked that he promised not to perform in Russia again.

They were unable to understand the words and didn't get the music. Bowie was one of the Western rock musicians deemed unsuitable for Soviet audiences with his orange hair and strange lyrics. However, his music was played in discotheques all over the Soviet Union by the end of 1980s and his music had a defining influence on leading rock musicians of Russia.

He was copied, loved and revered by a generation of young Russians who saw him as a rebel who invented his own music form.

Bowie: In his own words

To some, David Bowie was a genuis. To others, he remains a glorious mystery.

Here are some of his own thoughts in his own words.

Madonna: 'I owe Bowie a lot'

Madonna has put a heartfelt statement about Bowie's influence on Facebook:

"I'm devastated. David Bowie changed the course of my life forever. I never felt like I fit in growing up in Michigan. Like an oddball or a freak. I went to see him in concert at Cobo Arena in Detroit. It was the first concert I'd ever been too. I snuck out of the house with my girlfriend wearing a cape. We got caught after and I was grounded for the summer. I didn't care. I already had many of his records and was so inspired by the way he played with gender confusion. Was both masculine and feminine. Funny and serious. Clever and wise. His lyrics were witty ironic and mysterious.

At the time he was the thin white Duke and he had mime artists on stage with him and very specific choreography. And I saw how he created a persona and used different art forms within the arena of rock and Roll to create entertainment. I found him so inspiring and innovative. Unique and provocative. A real Genius. His music was always inspiring but seeing him live set me off on a journey that for me I hope will never end. His photographs are hanging all over my house today. He was so chic and beautiful and elegant. So ahead of his time. Thank you David Bowie. I owe you a lot. The world will miss you.

Ware: Bowie lived as 'an art installation'

BBC Radio 5 Live

Human League founder Martyn Ware told BBC Radio 5 live: [Bowie] symbolised not only the glamour of popular music, but his career was really one of an artist rather than just a musician."

#DavidBowie "lived his life as though he were an art installation" - Human League founder @martynware

#DavidBowie "lived his life as though he were an art installation" - Human League founder @martynware

LA stars pay tribute

Big names in LA have woken up to the news of Bowie's death and sent their tributes, from Ringo Starr to Kendrick Lamar to Justin Bieber - showing how far Bowie's influence reached.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

And Annie Lennox wrote on Facebook:

No one exists forever and it seems our elegant gentleman was well aware that his last mortal chapter was about to reach it's conclusion. "Dark Star" [sic] was his parting gift. Provocative and nightmarishly “otherworldly”… we are jolted towards the twilight realms of epileptic seizures and voodoo scarecrows.

The bejewelled remains of Major Tom lie dormant in a dust coated space suit… It leaves me breathless. You must see it to believe it… He knew… He could see through it all.

Peter Frampton thanks 'mentor' Bowie

Musician Peter Frampton, who knew Bowie at school and went on to play guitar with him many times, has called the star a "dear friend and mentor" in his Twitter tribute.

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Brett Anderson: "Poorer without him."

Brett Anderson
BBC

Brett Anderson, who was influenced by Bowie's 70s glam scene, said in a statement:

"I had the pleasure of meeting David several times and he was always so charming and warm. To say he was a great artist is a lumpen understatement; his songs became the furniture of mine and so many people's lives and helped write the book of pop music itself. 

"We are all far poorer without him."

David Bowie fans mourn at Ziggy Stardust 'shrine'

23 Heddon Street
EPA

Fans gathered at 23 Heddon Street in London, where the cover photo for Bowie's Ziggy Stardust album was shot.

Read their reaction.

Bowie's recording in Mandarin

David Bowie
David Bowie

David Bowie's fans in Hong Kong have been sharing a video of him singing 7 years in Tibet in Mandarin.

Writing on Facebook, Sham Tai Tai suggested she was the “middleman” on the project when she worked for the record company BMG Hong Kong.

Watch the video.

6 music's Jarvis Cocker on Bowie

Pulp singer and BBC 6 music presenter Jarvis Cocker said David Bowie was "like a lighthouse that guided people who felt it was alright to be a bit different and to try things out." 

Jarvis Cocker on the importance of David Bowie

Wakeman's Bowie memories

Keyboardist Rick Wakeman, played on Bowie's Hunky Dory album as a session musician

Keyboardist Rick Wakeman, who played on David Bowie's 1971 Hunky Dory album as a session musician, told BBC Radio 4's World at One that the star "played a massive part in my musical life".

Angie Bowie to stay in Big Brother house

Angie Bowie
PA

Angie Bowie, David Bowie's first wife is to remain in the Celebrity Big Brother house after learning of her ex-husband's death.

Channel 5 said in a statement: "Following the very sad news of David Bowie's death, we can now confirm that Angie Bowie has been informed off camera by her representatives.  She has taken the decision to continue in the programme. 

"The decision to remain in the house is entirely her choice, and she has been given the option to leave at any time if she changes her mind. Appropriate support will be available to Angie at any time if needed.”

"He wanted to make a mark on the world"

BBC Radio 5 Live

BBC broadcaster "Whispering" Bob Harris, who presented music show The Old Grey Whistle Test, recalled his friendship with Bowie on BBC Radio 5 live.

Bob Harris pays tribute to David Bowie, who has died at the age of 69.

Brian Eno: "I feel a huge gap now".

Brian Eno
BBC

Brian Eno, who produced Bowie's Berlin Trilogy - Low, Heroes and Lodger - said he was in contact with Bowie last week.

"David’s death came as a complete surprise, as did nearly everything else about him. I feel a huge gap now. We knew each other for over 40 years, in a friendship that was always tinged by echoes of Pete and Dud. Over the last few years - with him living in New York and me in London - our connection was by email. We signed off with invented names: some of his were Mr Showbiz, Milton Keynes, Rhoda Borrocks and the Duke of Ear.

About a year ago we started talking about Outside - the last album we worked on together. We both liked that album a lot and felt that it had fallen through the cracks. We talked about revisiting it, taking it somewhere new. I was looking forward to that. I received an email from him seven days ago.

It was as funny as always, and as surreal, looping through word games and allusions and all the usual stuff we did. It ended with this sentence: thank you for our good times, brian. they will never rot and it was signed dawn I realise now he was saying goodbye.”

Reaction to Bowie's Blackstar

Blackstar CDs
AFP
Bowie's latest album could top the charts on Friday

David Bowie released what was to be his final album, the jazz-infused Blackstar, on 8 January 2016 - just two days before his death, on what was also his 69th birthday.

Like much of Bowie's output over the decades, it proved to be experimental, groundbreaking and lyrically enigmatic.

Read more and check out the reviews.

Paul McCartney on the "great laughs"

Sir Paul McCartney
AP

Sir Paul McCartney posted a tribute on his website: "Very sad news to wake up to on this raining morning. David was a great star and I treasure the moments we had together. His music played a very strong part in British musical history and I’m proud to think of the huge influence he has had on people all around the world.

"I send my deepest sympathies to his family and will always remember the great laughs we had through the years. His star will shine in the sky forever."

David Bowie: A life in lyrics

David Bowie put his life into his work. Here are some of his most telling lyrics from through the years.

David Bowie: A life in lyrics

Fans mourn their 'Starman'

Bowie Mural
AFP
A mural of Bowie was painted in the singer's birthplace, Brixton in south London, by Australian street artist James Cochran, aka Jimmy C, in 2013
Bowie tribute
AFP
Bowie fans paid tribute by laying flowers underneath the south London mural.
Brixton Boy mural
EPA
A sign on Brixton's Ritzy Cinema also paid tribute to the rock star
Floral tributes in Berlin
AFP
Fans also left flowers outside a flat in Berlin where Bowie lived in between 1976 and 1978
Bowie album covers
PA
A record shop in Soho London, Sister Ray, displays Bowie albums in its window
Bowie exhibition in the Netherlands
EPA
A condolence book was put on display at the Groninger Museum, in Groningen, The Netherlands, where the David Bowie Is exhibition is currently running

Blackstar heading for number one

David Bowie
EPA

Unsurprisingly, Bowie's latest album Blackstar looks like it's heading to number one, according to OfficialCharts.com.

Blackstar's combined sales are currently at 43,000 - 25,000 ahead of its closest rival.

The record was already on course for the top spot before Bowie's death was announced. 

Official Charts Company chief executive Martin Talbot said: "Today is an awful day for all lovers of music. And the fact that David Bowie’s new album Blackstar was on course for number one this week, even before today's terrible news says everything about his continuing relevance - over 40 years since his first hit records.

"But we are expecting a huge surge for a wide range of Bowie albums in this week’s official albums chart. Bowie made so many great albums, constantly reinventing himself, that everyone has their own favourites and fans are clearly reminding themselves of his massive contribution to popular music by buying these great, iconic works."

More Twitter tributes

Tributes are continuing to pour in from stars on Twitter. They include Chic songwriter and guitarist Nile Rodgers, who co-produced Bowie's 1983 album Let's Dance.

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The Pet Shop Boys wrote:

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We are all Bowie's children. He inspired us and changed our lives. Love, gratitude and respect always for him and his work. Our truest condolence and sympathy to his family. Neil and Chris x

Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page tweeted:

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And rapper MC Hammer thanked Bowie for supporting black musicians in the 1980s, linking to a blog that recounted how Bowie challenged MTV on the lack of black artists on the channel.

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Star man to Starman

In 2013, retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield caught the public's imagination from the International Space Station with his regular tweets and Q&A sessions.

He also memorably performed a cover version of David Bowie's Space Oddity in zero gravity.

He has tweeted his own tribute to David Bowie.

View more on twitter

Bowie: The Berlin Years

Damien McGuinness

BBC News, Berlin

David Bowie
AFP

He was the soundtrack to Berlin. And one of the reasons why half of the young creative hipsters of Brooklyn and Shoreditch have moved here.

In 1976, David Bowie moved to Berlin, where he shared an apartment with Iggy Pop at number 155 Hauptstrasse in Schoeneberg — generally seen as one of the coolest flat-shares in pop history.

He may have helped fuel the myth of Berlin as a decadent party destination. But in fact Bowie came here to get off drugs and get down to work. It was at the legendary Hansa Studios, right next to the Berlin Wall, that he recorded what is often cited as his best work: Low, Heroes and Lodger, which make up the Berlin trilogy. David Bowie helped create the Berlin myth. And Berlin helped create David Bowie.

Peter Gabriel: Bowie was 'a one-off'

Peter Gabriel
BBC

Peter Gabriel has added his name to the huge list of tributes being paid to David Bowie.

The solo singer and former frontman of prog-rockers Genesis said: 

I was shocked to learn of David Bowie’s death this morning. He meant so much to me and to so many. He was a one-off, a brilliant outlier, always exploring, challenging and inspiring anyone who wanted to push the boundaries of music, art, fashion and society. There are so few artists who can touch a generation as he did, we will miss him badly. Long Live Lazarus.

Archbishop on Bowie's impact

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

David Bowie performs at Live Aid
PA

The religious world has also paid tribute to David Bowie.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was the first major public figure to give his reaction to the star’s death, speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

He said: "I’m very very saddened to hear of his death. I remember sitting and listening to his songs endlessly in the seventies particularly, and always really relishing what he was, what he did, the impact he had.” 

The Vatican’s chief spokesman on cultural matters, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, tweeted:

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Broadcaster and vicar Rev Richard Coles, who was a member of the '80s pop group The Communards, said: "He was my candidate for greatest living Englishman.”