Read Gary Oldman’s emotional Brits tribute to David Bowie in full

'David faced his illness with enormous courage, dignity, grace and customary humour'

Jack Shepherd
Thursday 25 February 2016 10:40
Gary Oldman paid tribute towards his friend David Bowie
Gary Oldman paid tribute towards his friend David Bowie

While Adele may have won countless awards, Rihanna twerked on Drake, and James Bay wore that stupid hat, the Brits 2016 won’t be remembered for any of that.

No, it was actor Gary Oldman who stole the show, giving an emotional and passionate speech about his late friend David Bowie, who was honoured with the icon award.

Annie Lennox introduced the segment, describing how difficult it still is to talk about Bowie in the past tense. She then passed the stage to Oldman. Watch below, and read the actor’s full speech below.

“We are coming to terms with the magnitude of David’s passing. The Jones family lost a husband and a father. Those closest to David lost a dear friend and the world lost a man, an artist of transcendent talent.

As Annie so gracefully said, David’s contribution, his influence on popular music, on culture itself has no equal, he was the very definition, he was the living embodiment of that singular word icon. I am so deeply touched and honoured to be hear tonight to accept this award for David and his family.

“In recent years David sparingly spoke about music and his process; but in one of these rare instances, he graciously and elegantly expounded.

“‘Music has given me over 40 years of extraordinary experiences. I can’t say that life’s pains or more tragic episodes have been diminished because of it, but it has allowed me so many moments of companionship when I have been lonely and a sublime means of communications when I have wanted to touch people. It has been both my doorway of perception and the house that I live in.'

“Over his career, David challenged and changed our understanding of the medium, whether in music or in life, he emphasised originality, experimentation, exploration, and in his very unique way, he also reminded us to never take ourselves too seriously.

“David was funny. He was funny, hilariously so, and the laughs were many and massive, and I shall miss them. A related story, a few years ago we were standing on a street corner and he was approached by this big fella, rocker type, long hair, leather clad, and he offered up this piece of paper for David’s autograph.

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“David signed the piece of paper, and as the fella walked away he turned to me and said ‘Well, he’s going to be disappointed.’ I said ‘Why?’ and he said ‘Because I signed it Gary Oldman’. His outlook was always positive, and I never once heard him complain.

“David faced his illness with enormous courage, dignity, grace and customary humour. Even in dire circumstances. When he wrote to tell me the bad new that he had cancer, he added, ‘the good news is I have my cheekbones back.’”

“He was the sweetest soul ever, with the best cheekbones, until it was done. David, you were mortal, but your potential was superhuman, and your remarkable music is living on. We love you, and we thank you.”

Oldman then introduced Lorde on stage, adding that Bowie himself said she was ‘the future of music’. Watch the full performance here.

Click here to take the David Bowie trivia quiz

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