David Bowie has died at the age of 69 surrounded by his family following a "courageous" 18-month battle with cancer.
A statement was issued across the musician's official social media profiles, asking the public to respect the "family's privacy during their time of grief".
Bowie's followers initially rejected the statement as a hoax, perhaps out of shock and disbelief, but the sad news was confirmed by his publicist.
David Bowie: Follow all the latest updates via our live blog.
There were rumours within the industry regarding Bowie's ill health, but his battle with cancer was largely kept private.
The statement on Facebook 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 publicist is expected to make a lengthier statement shortly.
Bowie's death comes just two days after he released his 25th and final album '★' (Blackstar).
He released a music video for the track 'Lazarus' taken from it last week, which sees him frail, wrapped in bandages and lying on a hospital bed.
David Bowie: Life in pictures
David Bowie: Life in pictures
David Bowie in 1960s
Davy Jones; life before David Bowie
David Bowie in 1964
David Bowie 'In Mime' at the Middle Earth Club, London, 1968
David Bowie in 1969
David Bowie performing his final concert as Ziggy Stardust at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, 1973
David Bowie in 1973
David Bowie, with his wife Angela (Angie) and his son Zowie, after receiving an award for his latest record "Ziggy stardust" in Amsterdam, 1974
David Bowie in the 1970s
David Bowie's son, Duncan Jones, confirmed his death on Twitter
David Bowie in the 1980s
David Bowie gives a press conference presenting the Japanese movie 'Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence' directed by Nagisa Oshima, during the 36th International Film Festival in Cannes, 1983
David Bowie performs on stage during a concert in La Courneuve, 1987
David Bowie during his concert in West Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany, 1987
David Bowie shakes hands with Princess Diana, 1993
David Bowie autographs copies of his newest album 'Outside' at the grand opening of a Herald Square music store 26 September 1995 in New York
David Bowie performs at the Panathinaikos stadium in Athens during a rock festival, 1996
David Bowie and his wife, supermodel Iman smile as they pose for photos after Bowie received a star on the world famous Walk of Fame 12 February in Hollywood, 1997
David Bowie getting ready to perform 'Earthling' at the Phoenix Music Festival in 1997
David Bowie on stage performing during the Tibet House Benefit Concert in New York City, 2001
David Bowie Meltdown concert at the Royal Festival Hall, London, June 2002
David Bowie performing during his concert at the Stravinski hall stage of the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland, 2002
David Bowie in 'Last Call with Carson Daly' TV programme taping in New York, 2003
David Bowie walks with his with wife Iman and daughter Alexandria (2) in New York, 2003
David Bowie performs on stage on the third and final day of 'The Nokia Isle of Wight Festival 2004' at Seaclose Park, in Newport, UK
David Bowie poses with a pig, 2004
David Bowie and Kate Moss at the 2005 CFDA Awards dinner party at the New York Public Library in New York City, 2005
David Bowie and model Iman arrive to the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala, Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy, held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, 2008
David Bowie anf Tilda Swinton at the MoMA's 6th Annual Film Benefit in New York, 2013
Flowers are left below a mural of David Bowie on the wall of a Morley's store in Brixton on 11 January 2016
"Look up here, I'm in heaven," he sings. "I've got scars, that can't be seen."
The video ends with Bowie shakily writing a note before walking into a dark armoire that stands beside the bed.
Bowie's son, Duncan Jones, paid tribute to his father on Twitter before retiring from the internet to grieve.
Very sorry and sad to say it's true. I'll be offline for a while. Love to all. pic.twitter.com/Kh2fq3tf9m— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) January 11, 2016
David Bowie was one of my most important inspirations, so fearless, so creative, he gave us magic for a lifetime.— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 11, 2016
Kanye West tweeted: "David Bowie was one of my most important inspirations, so fearless, so creative, he gave us magic for a lifetime."
Golden Globes host, Ricky Gervais, who brought Bowie on board for his sitcom Extras, wrote that he had "just lost a hero," while comedian Eddie Izzard said the artist would "live forever through his music".
Known for his fierce creativity and bold transformations both in terms of identity and aesthetics, Bowie was one of the most influential men in rock. He won two Grammy awards and had nine albums go platinum in the UK.
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