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David Bowie: Son Duncan Jones shares powerful open letter from palliative care doctor following singer's death

'What you have done in the time surrounding your death has had a profound effect on me and many people I work with'

Olivia Blair
Monday 18 January 2016 11:10 GMT
Duncan Jones with his father David Bowie in 2009
Duncan Jones with his father David Bowie in 2009 (Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)

Duncan Jones, the son of the late David Bowie, has shared a tribute to his father from a palliative care doctor who praises the singer for inspiring others coming to the end of their life.

Bowie died on 10 January surrounded by friends and family after a private 18-month cancer illness.

Following a statement announcing his death through the glam rock singer’s social media accounts, Jones, 44, shared a photo of himself as a child on his father’s shoulders and wrote: “Very sorry and sad to say it’s true. I’ll be offline for a while. Love to all.”

Yesterday, Jones shared just one of the many tributes paid to his father:

Posted on the blog section of the British Medical Journal’s website, Dr Mark Taubert – an NHS palliative care consultant from Cardiff – wrote an open letter to Bowie.

Aside from celebrating Bowie’s music and influence when he was growing up in the 1980s, Dr Taubert thanked the singer for his most recent work Blackstar, which since his death has topped the UK and US album charts. The single and haunting music video for 'Lazarus', in particular, has provided a poignant new meaning since his death.

“I’m a palliative care doctor, and what you have done in the time surrounding your death has had a profound effect on me and many people I work with," he wrote.

David Bowie in Numbers

“… For me, the fact that your gentle death at home coincided so closely with the release of your album, with its goodbye message, in my mind is unlikely to be a coincidence. All of this was carefully planned, to become a work of death art. The video for 'Lazarus' is very deep and many of the scenes will mean different things to us all; for me it is about dealing with the past when you are faced with inevitable death.”

Dr Taubert also wrote of his patient who has recently been told her advanced cancer had spread and how Bowie’s story helped them both.

“We discussed your death and your music, and it got us talking about numerous weighty subjects, that are not always straightforward to discuss with someone facing their own demise. In fact, your story became a way for us to communicate very openly about death…”

“She talked about you and loved your music… She too, had memories of places and events for which you provided an idiosyncratic soundtrack… We both wondered who may have been around you when you took your last breath and whether anyone was holding your hand. I believe this was an aspect of the vision she had of her own dying moments that was of upmost importance to her and you gave her a way of expressing this most personal longing to me, a relative stranger.”

Various tributes from music, entertainment and politics emerged after Bowie’s death and some fans attended an impromptu street party in his birthplace of Brixton to celebrate his life.

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