Rock icon David Bowie dies at 69

David Bowie. (Getty Images)
David Bowie. (Getty Images)

Los Angeles - The 69-year-old singer passed away on Sunday following an 18-month battle with cancer, his publicist has confirmed.

A statement posted on his official Facebook page 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.”

David's filmmaker son, Duncan Jones, also confirmed the news on Twitter, sharing an old photograph of himself and his famous father.

He wrote: “Very sorry and sad to say it's true.  I'll be offline for a while.  Love to all.”

The influential singer/songwriter - whose real name was David Jones - only released his 29th album, Blackstar, on Friday to coincide with his 69th birthday.

The Starman hitmaker is credited with being instrumental in the rise of glam rock and also dabbled in a wide range of other genres, including punk, electronica, rock, jungle, techno, dance and soul during his 40-year career.

His breakthrough came in 1972 with the release of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars and creation of his alter ego Ziggy Stardust.

His first major US success came in 1975 with the number one single Fame.

He turned to acting in 1976 when he played an alien in The Man Who Fell to Earth, and he took on a number of other roles, most famously in Labyrinth, as well as a well-received stint on Broadway in 1980 as the lead in The Elephant Man.

In 2013 - 10 years after the release of Reality - he shocked the world with a surprise musical comeback, releasing the album The Next Day.

His last tour came with the 2003-2004 Reality tour and his final live performance was in 2006.

As well as Duncan, he is also survived by wife Iman and their daughter Alexandria 15.