David Bowie’s death shocked the world.
Although the man who performed as alter egos such as Ziggy Stardust and The Thin White Duke was rarely seen in public after 2004, his death still came as a blow to his legions of fans.
In June 2000 the Glastonbury Festival’s Pyramid Stage crowd were hung on every word Bowie said or sang, as he performed hit after hit in a performance that included Changes, Rebel Rebel and Starman.
Three years later he started the Reality world tour, but when he collapsed shortly after coming off stage in Germany in June 2004, his days of regular performances were over.
Bowie was rarely seen in public again, making occasional one-off appearances on stage.
Then, in 2013, he surprised everyone when The Next Day, his 24th studio album, was released without warning.
Three years later Bowie released another album, Blackstar, on January 8 2016, his 69th birthday.
But, just two days after Blackstar’s release, Bowie died at his New York home.
A statement posted on his social media accounts read: “January 10 2016 – David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer. While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief.”
His death was just as unexpected to his millions of fans as his last two albums were.
In the days that followed it emerged that he’d been living with liver cancer, following a diagnosis in 2014.
Bowie had kept his illness a closely-guarded secret, with only his family and a handful of people he was working with aware of his condition.
Stage director Ivo van Hove – who was directing Lazarus, the musical co-created by Bowie who also wrote most of the music – was one of those.
“We began collaborating on our show, Lazarus, and at some point he took me to one side to say that he wouldn’t always be able to be there due to his illness. He told me he had cancer, liver cancer.
Friend and producer Tony Visconti was told in January 2015 as they worked on the Blackstar album.
Later in the year though it appeared the cancer was in remission and Bowie would go on.
“David was optimistic because he was doing the chemo and it was working and at one point in the middle of last year he was in remission,” Visconti recalled shortly after Bowie’s death.
“I was thrilled.
“He said, ‘Well, don’t celebrate too quickly. For now I’m in remission, – see how it goes’.”
But the killer disease returned in November and had “spread all over his body”.
Bowie learned his illness was terminal as he was working on the video for Lazarus, one of the singles from his upcoming album.
His final public appearance was in December 2015 when he attended the opening of his Lazarus stage show.
van Hove recalled how the frail Bowie was determined not to let his fans down that night.
He said: “It was written that he looked so well, so healthy. But behind the podium he collapsed from exhaustion. It was then that I realised that it may be the last time I would see him.”
After his death, Visconti described Blackstar as Bowie’s “parting gift”.
“He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way,” he said. “His death was no different from his life – a work of art. He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift.”
Bowie was secretly cremated two days later in accordance with his wishes which said he wanted to “go without any fuss” and not have either a funeral service or public memorial.