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David Bowie dies from cancer, aged 69

English singer-songwriter David Bowie has died after a "courageous 18 month battle with cancer." Best known for his androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust, Bowie became an icon of the glam rock era.

In a statement posted on the musician's official Facebook page on Monday, David Bowie's publicist said he had "died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer."

Bowie had celebrated his 69th birthday on January 8, which also coincided with the

release of his latest studio album

"Blackstar."

He leaves behind two children, Duncan and Alexandria Jones and his second wife, Somali-American model Iman.

Posting a childhood photograph on Twitter, Bowie's son Duncan wrote: "Very sorry and sad to say it's true. I'll be offline for a while."

Born David Jones in Brixton, in 1947, Bowie rose to fame in the 1970s with hits such as "Space Oddity" and "Life on Mars."

After moving to West Berlin in 1976, he released the albums "Low," "Heroes" and "Lodger," which became known as the "Berlin Trilogy."

It was a couple, who Bowie spotted embracing next to the border between East and West Germany, that inspired Bowie's lyrics in his 1977 hit, "Heroes."

"I can remember, standing by the wall, and the guns shot above our heads, and we kissed, as though nothing could fall," Bowie sung.

Shortly after Bowie's death was announced on Monday, the German Foreign Ministry tweeted: "Good-bye David Bowie. You are now among Heroes. Thank you for helping to bring down the wall."

Thanks to years of constantly reinventing his music and image, Bowie went on to enjoy an outstanding career spanning five decades, selling 140 million records around the world.

Beyond the music, he also established a successful acting career after staring in Nicolas Roeg's 1976 film, "The Man Who Fell to Earth." He went on to appear in "The Elephant Man" on Broadway, as well "The Last Temptation of Christ" in which he played Pontius Pilate.

In 1996, Bowie was inducted into the "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame," while in 2004, "Rolling Stone" ranked him 39th on their list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time" and 23rd on their list of the best singers of all time.

Tributes to Bowie continued to pour in throughout Monday, with

many fellow artists posting their condolences on Twitter.

Queen of pop Madonna wrote: "Talented . Unique. Genius. Game Changer. The Man who Fell to Earth. Your Spirit Lives on Forever!"

English comedian and actor Eddie Izzard tweeted: "Very sad to hear about the death of David Bowie but through his music he will live forever."

Some radio stations around the world abandoned their planned playlists and played only Bowie tracks in memory of the music legend.

ksb/se (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)

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