The world woke up to the news this cold Monday morning that on Sunday, January 10th, David Bowie died after an 18th month long battle with cancer.
I -- like millions of his fans out there -- didn’t know him personally. But I knew him. He was Ziggy Stardust. He was Jareth the Goblin King. His music was the soundtrack to our lives for over 40 years. The memories that we have attached to him and his music, his talent, is what we feel like we’ve lost. Memories of home, and family, and my dad. The memories of where we were the first time we heard ‘Man Who Sold the World’. Each of us have different stories of how we were exposed to him and his music, each of us with those sweet memories.
In a very Bowie way, he hid his cancer battle from the world- I for one do not recall anything about it. The publicity surrounded his latest album, Blackstar, that was just released this month. His showmanship survived with him until the very end: He was not going to let us see him as anything but glamorous and creative. If he was going down, he was going down beautifully, with the fastest selling off Broadway Play ‘Lazareth’. With many accomplishments from Grammy's to general public admiration, David Bowie’s death will leave an empty spot, that can never be filled. There will never be an act like him again, simply.
David Bowie was like nothing we’ve ever seen in our lives before. He warped gender roles and was ambiguous about his own sexuality for years, even as going as far as coming out as gay in ‘72. Of course, we’ve learned to expect the unexpected, and he redacted that statement. He paraded around in makeup and heels, his music sounded so strange but also amazing.
David Bowie reinvented himself almost as many times as Madonna, and pulled off a new look, a new sound, countless times in his long career. His death makes us hyper aware of our own mortality, those memories we have of him barreling to the forefront of our brains, and sadness, as if we really did know him, overwhelms us for a moment.
An icon is gone.
The outpouring of love and support for him and his family is solid proof that the man who urged us to be heroes, just for one day, will live on far longer than his physical body did through his music and movies. He leaves behind Iman, his wife of 22 years, and two children. He also leaves behind 25 albums of music that can be cherished and listened to for generations to come.
It’s a sad day when an icon, a here, dies. But, at least we have his legacy, his music, and movies to remind us that -- David Bowie was brilliant.