David Bowie dies after 18-month cancer battle, aged 69: World pays tribute as latest record set to top charts
David Bowie's ex-wife Angie made decision to remain in Celebrity Big Brother house after being informed of his death
David Bowie’s final album Blackstar – released on his 69th birthday last Friday – is set to storm the music charts in the wake of the death of the music legend.
Earlier today, Bowie's publicist confirmed today that the British singer died after an 18-month battle with cancer.
Angie has taken the decision to continue in the programme. She has been given the option to leave at any time: https://t.co/xsPKtgFNW7— Big Brother UK (@bbuk) January 11, 2016
David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer," the statement read.
"While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief."
David's cancer diagnosis was previously unknown, and at the moment there are no further details on the kind of illness he was battling.
Rumours about the singer's health have plagued Bowie since he bowed out of the spotlight following a heart attack in 2004.
He collapsed backstage at a gig in Schessel, Germany, and was forced to undergo emergency surgery on a blocked coronary artery.
He made very few public appearances since then, with his final live performance taking place nearly a decade ago, when he joined Alicia Keys on stage at the Black Ball fundraiser at New York's Hammersmith Ballroom for a rendition of Changes in 2006.
The Heroes singer resurfaced in April 2009 to attend the premiere of his son Duncan Jones's film Moon in New York, and at the CFDA Fashion Awards in June 2010 alongside second wife Iman, before dropping back out of the public eye until the release of The Next Day in 2013 - his first original album in 10 years.
Scrutiny of his health intensified at that time, with long-time producer Tony Visconti denying reports the singer was suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
"He is as sharp as a tack. He is sharper than ever. This boy has not lost a single brain cell," Visconti told the Sunday Telegraph.
"People thought he was dying. He's not dying any time soon, let me tell you... He couldn't have done two years' work if he was a sick man. He's very healthy, he's very fit. He had the heart operation (in 2004) and that's it. He's long since recovered from that," Visconti added.
The star celebrated his 69th birthday on January 8, the same day his latest seven-song album – which was positively received by critics – was released.
Blackstar CDs have now sold out on Amazon and is rapidly gaining on its competitors in the charts.
Bowie, born David Jones in post-war Brixton, south London, kicked off his music career in the R&B boom of the early Sixties.
His illustrious career spanned over 40 years with his breakout year in 1972 with The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.
The star made a habit of confounding the critics - killing off his most famous creation, Ziggy Stardust, at the height of his fame - and reinventing himself in roles including glam rocker, soul singer and hippie songwriter.
In 1969 he made his first appearance in the charts with Space Oddity.
A string of albums followed, before 1972's The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars made him an international star.
The 1980s saw him combine his pop career with appearances in films including Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence and Absolute Beginners.
Other hits include Let’s Dance, Heroes, Changes, Under Pressure, China Girl, All the Young Dudes, Panic in Detroit, among countless others.
He had kept a low profile in recent years after reportedly suffering a heart attack in the 2000s, and his last live performance was at a 2006 charity show in New York.
Bowie made a surprise comeback in 2013 when he suddenly released a new single on his 66th birthday with an album out just weeks later, his first for 10 years.
He is survived by his wife of 24 years, legendary supermodel Iman. He has two children Alexandria Zahra Jones (15) and Duncan Jones (44).
His son, a filmmaker who operates on Twitter under Zowie Bowie, confirmed the news this morning in a tweet, "Very sorry and sad to say it's true. I'll be offline for a while. Love to all."
David Bowie's ex-wife is currently taking part in Celebrity Big Brother and has just been informed of his death, Channel 5 has said.
Angie Bowie has made this decision this afternoon to remain in the programme for the foreseeable future.
“The decision to remain in the House is entirely her choice, and she has been given the option to leave at any time she changes her mind,” the Channel 5 statement read.
Angie made tabloid headlines during her time on the programme this far with a series of damning comments about the singer.
Meanwhile, stars, politicians and fans rushed online to pay their respects to the late star.
READ MORE: Tributes pour in for late David Bowie
Watch David Bowie's final video here: