David Bowie.jpg
Photograph: Photo by Brandon Carson, used under CC BY

Music legend David Bowie died on Sunday at the age of 69 after an 18-month battle with cancer.

"David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family," a Monday statement on Bowie's official Facebook account read.

"While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief," the statement read.

The British pop star - one of the century's most influential artists whose musical career spanned five decades - is survived by two children, Duncan and Alexandria Jones.

Born David Robert Jones in 1947, Bowie had his first major musical success in 1969 with the fictional character Major Tom and the album Space Oddity.

In the 1970s his androgynous appearance, changing musical style and different personas made him a pop sensation, with albums like The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars eventually reaching cult status.

Bowie wrote the album Heroes in 1977 during a period of artistic exile in West Berlin. Hits like Let's Dance also achieved mass success in the 1980s.

Bowie's creative genius also spread to painting and acting, with the artist starring as an extra-terrestrial in Nicolas Roeg's The Man Who Fell to Earth.

In his later years, Bowie lived in New York and focused on his role as a father, saying that his daughter Alexandria played a major role in this shift.

"At some point you reach a time in life where you realize that there are perhaps three or four things that are important," he said in an interview with a German newspaper shortly after his second wife, Somali model Iman, gave birth to the baby girl in 2000.

"The older you get, the fewer the questions that bother you," Bowie said. "Unfortunately those are the questions to which there are no answers, and death is one of them."

According to Bowie, his album Reality, released in 2003, marked a shift compared to its predecessor Heathen, released the previous year.

His next album, The Next Day, would not appear until a decade later in 2013.

His last album, Blackstar, was released on Friday to coincide with the artist's 69th birthday.

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