Sources close to David Bowie have revealed that the iconic singer died of liver cancer.
Bowie passed away at the age of 69 on Sunday (January 10th) following what an official statement describes as a “courageous 18-month battle” with an unspecified cancer.
Prior to his death, Bowie had been working on new stage show dubbed Lazarus with director Ivo van Hove, who has since come forward to share more details about the legendary musician’s secret struggle with ill-health.
“We began collaborating on our show Lazarus and at some point he took me to one side to say that he wouldn’t always be able to be there due to his illness. He told me he had cancer, liver cancer,” van Hove told The Independent (via NME), adding that the events took place “about a year” ago.
“The cast didn’t know all that time, and I suspect that the musicians with whom he recorded [his final studio album] Blackstar didn’t know either,” the director said. “He made every effort to complete those two projects on time, not to let his illness win.”
“Bowie was still writing on his deathbed, you could say. He fought like a lion and kept working like a lion through it all. I had incredible respect for that.”
Another source close to Bowie, Wendy Leigh – who published a biography about the Starman in 2014 – has also claimed that Bowie survived an incredible series of heart attacks prior to his passing.
“He didn’t just battle cancer… he had six heart attacks in recent years. I got this from somebody very close to him,” she told BBC News.
The circle of people who knew about Bowie’s cancer battle was reportedly kept very small.
Just days before his death, The Thin White Duke released his 25th and final LP Blackstar, which the album’s producer has since described as Bowie’s carefully-orchestrated farewell.
According to Tony Visconti, the music video for Lazarus – which was released just two days prior to Bowie’s death – represented the musician’s poignant final message to his fans.
In a statement posted to Facebook, the producer said: “He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way.
“His death was no different from his life – a work of Art.”
Lazarus features Bowie in a hospital bed, and opens with the lyrics, “Look up here, I’m in Heaven!”
Watch the full video, below.
Watch: David Bowie – Lazarus