NEW YORK (TheBlaze/AP) — Fans were shocked on Monday to learn that David Bowie, the innovative and iconic singer whose illustrious career lasted five decades with hits like "Fame," ''Heroes" and "Let's Dance," died this weekend after a battle with cancer. He was 69.
A brief statement on the singer's social media accounts announced that Bowie "died peacefully" on Sunday, surrounded by family members "after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer."
In addition to sharing those details, the release concluded,"While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief."
The death comes just days after Bowie's 69th birthday on Friday — the same day that he released his latest album titled "Blackstar."
In this Sept. 14, 1995, file photo, David Bowie performs in Hartford, Conn. Bowie, the innovative and iconic singer whose illustrious career lasted five decades, died Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, after battling cancer for 18 months. He was 69. (AP Photo/Bob Child, File)
Bowie's battle with cancer was not previously known to the public. Longtime producer Tony Visconti alluded to the fact that the singer possibly knew for a year that he had incurable cancer, the Daily Mail reported.
Bowie, who was born David Jones, came of age in the glam rock era of the early 1970s. He had a striking androgynous look in his early days and was known for changing his looks and sounds. The stuttering rock sound of "Changes" gave way to the disco soul of "Young Americans," co-written with John Lennon, to a droning collaboration with Brian Eno in Berlin that produced "Heroes.
He had some of his biggest successes in the early 1980s with the stylist "Let's Dance," and a massive American tour.
"My entire career, I've only really worked with the same subject matter," Bowie told The Associated Press in a 2002 interview. "The trousers may change, but the actual words and subjects I've always chosen to write with are things to do with isolation, abandonment, fear and anxiety — all of the high points of one's life."
His performance of "Heroes" was a highlight of a concert for rescue workers after the 2001 World Trade Center attacks.
"What I'm most proud of is that I can't help but notice that I've affected the vocabulary of pop music. For me, frankly, as an artist, that's the most satisfying thing for the ego."
In this June 6, 2005 file photo, singer David Bowie and his wife Iman pose at the 2005 CFDA Fashion Awards in New York. Bowie, the innovative and iconic singer whose illustrious career lasted five decades, died Monday, Jan. 11, 2015, after battling cancer for 18 months. He was 69 (AP Photo/Stuart Ramson, File)
Bowie kept a low profile in recent years after reportedly suffering a heart attack in the 2000s. He made a moody album three years ago called "The Next Day" — his first recording in a decade which was made in secret in New York City. "Blackstar," which earned positive reviews from critics, represented yet another stylistic shift, as he gathered jazz players to join him.
Bowie was married to international supermodel Iman since 1992.
Saddened to hear David Bowie has lost his battle with cancer – his music was an inspiration to many. @DavidBowieReal— Tim Peake (@Tim Peake) 1452500769.0
I grew up listening to and watching the pop genius David Bowie. He was a master of re-invention, who kept getting it right. A huge loss.— David Cameron (@David Cameron) 1452496675.0
Celebrities and fans are mourning the celebrated singer, with British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeting that Bowie's death is "a huge loss."
Likewise, British astronaut Tim Peake tweeted the following from inside the International Space Station in outer space: "Saddened to hear David Bowie has lost his battle with cancer – his music was an inspiration to many."