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David Bowie dies at 69 after cancer battle

Legendary singer David Bowie has died at 69, his son, Duncan Jones, tweeted late Sunday night.

"Very sorry and sad to say it's true," Jones, a filmmaker, wrote. "I'll be offline for a while. Love to all."

A statement on the singer's official website read: "David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer. While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief."

Representative Steve Martin said that Bowie died "peacefully" and was surrounded by family, according to the Associated Press. No more details were provided.

Bowie turned 69 on Friday, the same day he released a new album called Blackstar, which earned rave reviews. It was the 25th album from the legendary glam rocker, who was born David Jones in South London on Jan. 8, 1947. He took up saxophone when he was 12 and played with a slew of bands after high school, eventually changing his last name to "Bowie" in order to avoid confusion with The Monkees' lead singer Davy Jones.

He released his self-titled debut album in 1967, but didn't score his first hit until two years later with breakout single Space Oddity, which introduced fictional astronaut Major Tom and was one of nearly two dozen Bowie songs to chart on Billboard's Hot 100 (including No. 1's Let's Dance and Fame). On tour and through his music, Bowie slipped into various personas and alter egos: most famously, the androgynous Iggy Stardust, eccentric Aladdin Sane and drug-fueled The Thin White Duke, created during his mid-'70s Young Americans era.

It was around this time that Bowie took an interest in acting, starring in movies such as sci-fi drama The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) and Jim Henson's Labyrinth, a 1986 adventure and now-cult classic, for which he wrote music and appeared as the devilish Jareth, the Goblin King. His onscreen career slowed in the years following, which he apathetically acknowledged in a 1990 interview with USA TODAY.

"You have to show some commitment, and I'm not good at wining and dining the right people or studying acting or showing much interest," Bowie said. "It's unutterably boring."

After hitting critical and commercial highs with Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), Let's Dance and Tonight in the 1980s, Bowie continued to reinvent himself artistically and saw changes in his personal life. After a highly publicized 1980 divorce from model Angela Barnett (with whom he had Jones), Bowie married model/actress Iman. Together, they had a daughter, Alexandria Jones, born in 2000.

Bowie swore off drugs in the '80s, and in some ways, fame, he told USA TODAY in 1990. “I don't see anything glorious about fame," Bowie said. "Anyone who strives for it must be out of their gourd."

The singer had kept a mostly low profile since he reportedly suffered a heart attack in the 2000s. He released four albums (including Blackstar) since 2002's Heathen) and received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammy Awards in 2006: one of the few major honors Bowie earned in his career, in addition to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 1996.