Singer David Bowie has died at the age of 69 from cancer, just a few days after releasing a critically acclaimed album which some are saying was his parting gift.

A statement was issued on Facebook Monday morning- "David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer," the statement said. "While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family's privacy during their time of grief."

Bowie’s death was confirmed to the New York Times by his publicist, Steve Martin, on Monday morning.

Bowie was born David Robert Jones in South London on January 8, 1947. At the age thirteen and inspired by the jazz of the London West End, he picked up the saxophone and began lessons with the great Ronnie Ross. By 1966 Bowie had adopted the name "David Bowie." His first hit came with the song "Space Oddity" in 1969.

As Bowie's star rose, so did his need to keep fans and critics on their toes. Because of his need to keep people guessing, Bowie introduced the world to "Ziggy Stardust" in 1972. Stardust was Bowie's alter-ego who was portrayed as a doomed rock star. Bowie's 1972 album, "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" made Bowie a superstar and showed the world a new change in rock music, serving almost as an unofficial end to the 1960s and Woodstock era.

Just as quickly as Bowie created Ziggy Stardust, he shelved him. Ziggy Stardust was put to bed in 1973. Also in 1973, Bowie used his stardom to produce albums for Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. He also announced he was through with live shows.

By the time the mid 1970s rolled around, Bowie dumped his outrageous costumes and got more serious about his work. In 1974 he released "David Live"  and in 1975 he released Young "Americans."  "Young Americans" featured backing vocals by Luther Vandross and included the song "Fame," which he co-wrote with John Lennon and which became Bowie’s first American number one single.

Just as he loved music, Bowie also loved film and that passion helped him land the title role in "The Man Who Fell to Earth" and in "The Elephant Man."

In 1996, Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Fame and in 2006, he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

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