Singer David Bowie has died after an 18-month battle with cancer, his publicity company said on Sunday, January 10.

"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," read a statement on Bowie's Facebook page dated Sunday.

Stars, politicians and fans rushed online to pay their respects. British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted:

Steve Martin from Bowie's publicity company Nasty Little Man confirmed the Facebook report was accurate. "It's not a hoax," he said.

The iconic musician had turned 69 only on Friday, January 8,which coincided with the release of "Blackstar", his 25th studio album.

Film director Duncan Jones, Bowie's son with his first wife Angela Bowie, confirmed the news on Twitter.

The death brings the curtain down on one of the most acclaimed artists of modern British music, with a career dating back to the hit "Space Oddity" in 1969, about an astronaut called Major Tom, who is abandoned in space.

It spanned styles ranging from glam rock, New Romantic, Krautrock and dance music to alternative rock, jungle, soul and hard rock, underpinned by an astonishing array of stage personas from the sexually ambiguous Ziggy Stardust to the so-called Thin White Duke.

He was born David Robert Jones in Brixton, inner south London on January 8, 1947, before his family moved out to the leafy suburb of Bromley when he was six.

Source: b'Two suits designed by Freddie Burretti (1972) for the Ziggy Stardust tour are displayed in front of a video showing pop star David Bowie singing at the BBC show Top of the Pops (July 1972) as part of the exhibition "David Bowie Is" at the Philarmonie de Paris | Source: Reuters\xc2\xa0'

Master of re-invention -

In the first of many re-inventions that were to make him a style icon, he named himself David Bowie in 1966 to avoid confusion with Davy Jones, lead singer with Beatles rivals The Monkees, and studied Buddhism and mime. The 1970s -- the decade that saw him dominate the British music scene and conquer the United States -- brought forward a string of successful albums.

It began with the critically acclaimed "Hunky Dory", continued with "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" -- whose hits included "Starman" and "Suffragette City" -- followed by the rock album "Aladdin Sane", the apocalyptic "Diamond Dogs" and a fling with so-called plastic soul, "Station to Station."

Source: Twitter

He then switched gears once more, moving to Berlin to work with the electronic experimentalist Brian Eno product a trio of albums -- "Low", "Heroes" and "Lodger". The 1980s saw him win over a new generation with "Let's Dance", which yielded the hit singles "China Girl" and "Modern Love", and a 1985 teamup with Mick Jagger for a cover of "Dancin' in the Street" that helped to push the BandAid and LiveAid charity projects.

His chameleon-like ability to reinvent his image, drawing on everything from mime to kabuki theatre, was accompanied by a string of albums until heart problems curtailed his productivity in the 2000s.

Source: b'Source: Reuters'

But he surprised the world by launching a surprise single "Where are We Now?" on his 66th birthday in 2013 after a decade of silence, recalling his days in Berlin in the 1970s and hailed by critics as a major comeback. An innovator to the end, Bowie moved away from pop into a new jazz sound in his final album "Blackstar". A dark work marked by tense instrumentation, a sense of dread and lyrics about mortality, the work is cast in a new light by the revelation of how ill he was when he created it.

(Feature image source: Reuters)