Legendary British singer-songwriter David Bowie, known for hit tracks like "Heroes", "Fame" and "Life on Mars", has died after a secret battle with cancer. He was 69.
The musician passed away on Sunday evening in presence of his family, just two days after his birthday.
"David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer," read a statement on his website.
"While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family's privacy during their time of grief."
Writing on Twitter, Bowie's son, film director Duncan Jones, also confirmed the news.
"Very sorry and sad to say it's true. I'll be offline for a while. Love to all," Jones said.
British Prime Minister David Cameron led the tributes to the music legend on Twitter:"I grew up listening to and watching the pop genius David Bowie. He was a master of re-invention, who kept getting it right. A huge loss."
The Rock and Roll legend, also popular as his flamboyant alter-ego Ziggy Stardust, had just released his latest album "Blackstar" on his birthday on Friday to great reviews.
Fans are speculating that in its single "Lazarus", released a few weeks ago in mid-December, Bowie predicted about his death.
The lyrics of the song are "Look up here, I'm in heaven/ I've got scars that can't be seen/ Look up here, man, I'm in danger / I've got nothing left to lose".
Bowie, born David Robert Jones in Brixton, south London on January 8, 1947, released 25 albums in his career as well as acting in several films. He changed his name early in his career to avoid confusion with Davy Jones of the Monkees.
One of the most popular and flamboyant artistes of his generation, Bowie is credited for glam rock though he defied being tied to to a particular genre by producing great music in art rock, soul, hard rock, dance pop, punk and electronica in an eclectic 40-year career.
After releasing his first hit, 'Space Oddity', in 1969 Bowie became a global superstar with the success of albums such as 'Hunky Dory' and 'The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust' and the 'Spiders from Mars'.
He was awarded a Grammy lifetime achievement award in February 2006 and his final performance on stage was later that year when he sang alongside Alicia Keys at the Black Ball in New York.
Bowie also did movie roles such as "Labyrinth", "The Hunger", "Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence" and Christopher Nolan's "The Prestige".
Besides his son, Bowie is survived by model wife Iman and daughter Alexandria 'Lexie' Zahra Jones. His ex-wife Angela Bowie a contestant on the 'Celebrity Big Brother' in the UK.
Leading musicians expressed their shock at Bowie's death.
"I'm Devastated! This great Artist changed my life! First concert I ever saw in Detroit! RIP," wrote Madonna.
"David Bowie was a true innovator, a true creative. May he rest in peace. #RIPDavidBowie," wrote Pharrell Williams.