Legendary artist David Bowie has died of cancer, aged 69, according to posts on his official social media accounts.
Representatives for the 69-year-old recording artist have confirmed the man sometimes known as "Ziggy Stardust" died after battling cancer for a year and a half.
"David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer," reads a statement from his official social media accounts. "While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family's privacy during their time of grief."
His illness was not well known, but there had been rumours of his failing health in recent years.
Bowie's publicist, Steve Martin confirmed the death to the Hollywood Reporter and Sky News.
His son, Duncan Jones, tweeted: "Very sorry and sad to say it's true. I'll be offline for a while. Love to all."
Bowie's career spanned more than four decades, with the influential singer-songwriter dabbling in a variety of music styles including hard rock, punk and glam rock in that time.
Four of his world tours stopped in New Zealand, including the Serious Moonlight tour in 1983 when he was officially welcomed on to the Takapūwāhia Marae in Porirua. His last ever tour, A Reality Tour, also stopped in New Zealand with a performance in Wellington on Valentine's Day in 2004.
Bowie's music never faded from the limelight, but he did pull back from live shows.
What fans didn't know was that for the last 18 months he was fighting a private battle against cancer, all the while working on another album - Blackstar - which was released just two days ago.
At first social media was in disbelief about the news of Bowie's death, though tributes soon followed.
Comedian Ricky Gervais tweeted: "I just lost a hero."
All corners of the pop world expressed how the singer had inspired them, including rapper Kanye West.