David Bowie (born David Robert Jones: 8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016) was an English rock singer, songwriter and actor. He was a figure in popular music for over five decades, regarded by critics and musicians as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s. His career was marked by reinvention and visual presentation, his music and stagecraft significantly influencing popular music. During his lifetime, his record sales, estimated at 140 million worldwide, made him one of the world's best-selling music artists. In the UK, he was awarded nine platinum album certifications, eleven gold and eight silver, releasing eleven number-one albums. In the US, he received five platinum and seven gold certifications. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
David Bowie studied art, music and design, including layout and typesetting. After Terry Burns, his half-brother, introduced him to modern jazz, his enthusiasm for players like Charles Mingus and John Coltrane led his mother to give him a plastic alto saxophone in 1961; he was soon receiving lessons from a local musician.
Bowie, as a musician, performer and song-writer defied convention completely, he continually re-invented himself and his art at breakneck speed and illogical disjointedness. It seemed as though time was always at a premium. With complete disregard for music style loyalty or so called integrity, he often combined the most unlikely forms of music with angst ridden end-of- millennium subject matter, presenting the rock world with it's first truly post-modernist star. After living each legendary character to the utmost, he deconstructed that which made him singular, then a new element would arise to confound and entice the masses who thought they had just figured out his latest incarnation.
On 10 January 2016, two days after his 69th birthday and the release of the album Blackstar, David Bowie died from liver cancer in his New York City apartment. He had been diagnosed 18 months earlier but had not made the news of his illness public. The Belgian theatre director Ivo van Hove, who had worked with the singer on his Off-Broadway musical Lazarus, explained that Bowie was unable to attend rehearsals due to the progression of the disease. He noted that Bowie had kept working during the illness.