David Bowie biographer claims singer ‘suffered six heart attacks’ before his death

Bowie's health was the subject of speculation in the months leading up to his death  

Heather Saul
Tuesday 12 January 2016 10:48
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David Bowie
David Bowie

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”.

Organist plays David Bowie's Life On Mars in touching tribute

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.

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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