David Bowie concealed health issues and suffered six heart attacks in the years before he passed away from cancer, his biographer has claimed.
The iconic Ziggy Stardust singer died on Sunday following a “courageous” and secret fight with cancer, shocking and devastating his legions of fans globally. He was 69-years-old.
Wendy Leigh, a biographer whose book Bowie, the Biography, was published in September 2014, claims Bowie also hid other serious health problems from public view.
“Physically, he didn’t just battle cancer, if that’s not enough, he had six heart attacks in recent years,” she told the BBC. “I got this from somebody very close to him.”
The Belgian theatre director Ivo van Hove was quoted as saying Bowie died from liver cancer, 18 months after receiving his diagnosis, although this has not been officially confirmed.
Bowie’s ethereal final album, Blackstar, and his final release from it, "Lazarus", is now being evaluated in light of his illness and passing, leading many to consider it as a “parting gift” to the world. In one particularly haunting line from "Lazarus", he sings: “Look up here, I'm in heaven / I've got scars, that can't be seen”.
Bowie became one of the most influential figures in British pop culture with seminal albums such as The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Heroes. His oeuvre and ever-changing personas set him apart as a revolutionary, gender fluid icon and the ultimate king of reinvention.
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
Tony Vistonti, a producer, collaborator and friend of Bowie, extolled his final album as evidence of his unwavering originality and ability to surprise.
“His death was no different from his life - a work of art,” he wrote. “He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift.”
Leigh shares this widely held belief, claiming Bowie “art directed” his death in his final months.
“I believe that Iman (his wife), tragic as it is for her, tragic as it is for Duncan (his son), for Alexandria, for the daughter, they were prepared by David, day by day, month by month, year by year, for the day of his passing.”
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