David Bowie: Robert Fox says nobody knew star was ill because 'that's what he wanted'

The singer worked with Robert Fox who was directing his musical Lazarus

Eleanor Ross
Sunday 17 January 2016 18:57
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Tributes to David Bowie in Brixton, London
Tributes to David Bowie in Brixton, London

One of David Bowie’s closest friends has said hardly anybody knew he was ill because "that’s the way he wanted it”.

Robert Fox, a theatre producer who was friends with the singer for more than 40 years, said he had known about the singer's liver cancer for more than a year.

In an interview with the Telegraph, Mr Fox said Bowie told him about his cancer in December 2014 when he was in New York to direct the off-Broadway musical Lazarus, which premiered last month.

The director revealed that he talked to Bowie via Skype, who then told him that he was ill. Mr Fox added that Bowie had said it was vital that he, Enda Walsh (who co-wrote Lazarus) and Ivo van Hove all knew.

“It was shocking,” Mr Fox said. “Nobody knew...nobody even suggested there was anything.”

He added that Bowie was an extremely private star. “I think he wanted to protect his family from the insanity there would have been. It would have impinged on the album, Lazarus, his family.”

The pair met in 1974, and in 2013 discussed the possibility of doing a musical after attending the “David Bowie is” exhibition at the V&A. Lazarus opened in New York Theatre Workshop in December and the demand for tickets has been so high the company had to put on an extra three performances.

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