In this Sept. 14, 1995, file photo, David Bowie performs in Hartford, Conn. Bowie, the innovative and iconic singer whose illustrious career lasted five decades, died Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, after battling cancer for 18 months. He was 69.

In this Sept. 14, 1995, file photo, David Bowie performs in Hartford, Conn. Bowie, the innovative and iconic singer whose illustrious career lasted five decades, died Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, after battling cancer for 18 months. He was 69.

Bob Child/The Associated Press

NEW YORK -- David Bowie, the innovative and iconic singer whose illustrious career lasted five decades with hits like "Fame," ''Heroes" and "Let's Dance," died Sunday after a battle with cancer. He was 69.

Celebrities worldwide react to David Bowie's death

Representative Steve Martin said early Monday that Bowie died "peacefully" and was surrounded by family. He had battled cancer for 18 months.

"While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family's privacy during their time of grief," the statement read. No more details were provided.

Bowie turned 69 on Friday, the same day he released a new album called Blackstar.

The singer, who was born David Jones, came of age in the glam rock era of the early 1970s. He had a striking androgynous look in his early days and was known for changing his looks and sounds. The stuttering rock sound of "Changes" gave way to the disco soul of "Young Americans," co-written with John Lennon, to a droning collaboration with Brian Eno in Berlin that produced "Heroes."

He had some of his biggest successes in the early 1980s with the stylist "Let's Dance," and a massive American tour.

A track-by-track review of David Bowie's final studio album, 'Blackstar'

"My entire career, I've only really worked with the same subject matter," Bowie told The Associated Press in a 2002 interview. "The trousers may change, but the actual words and subjects I've always chosen to write with are things to do with isolation, abandonment, fear and anxiety -- all of the high points of one's life."

At a concert for rescue workers after the 2001 World Trade Center attacks, his performance of "Heroes" was a highlight.

"What I'm most proud of is that I can't help but notice that I've affected the vocabulary of pop music."

"For me, frankly, as an artist, that's the most satisfying thing for the ego."

Bowie kept a low profile in recent years after reportedly suffering a heart attack in the 2000s. He made a moody album three years ago called The Next Day -- his first recording in a decade which was made in secret in New York City. "Blackstar," which earned positive reviews from critics, represented yet another stylistic shift, as he gathered jazz players to join him.

David Bowie's 'Blackstar' sounded like a goodbye, but I didn't want to believe it

He felt uneasy about some of his greatest material, once embarking on a "greatest hits" tour saying it would be the last time performing much of his old material. He later relented, however.

"I'm not a natural performer," he said in the 2002 interview. "I don't enjoy performing terribly much. Never have. I can do it and, if my mind's on the situation, do it quite well. But five or six shows in, I'm dying to get off the road and go back into the studio."

British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted that Bowie's death is "a huge loss." He wrote he had grown up listening to and watching Bowie and called the singer a "master of reinvention" and a pop genius who kept on getting it right.

Kanye West said on Twitter that Bowie "was one of my most important inspirations, so fearless, so creative, he gave us magic for a lifetime."

Bowie was married to international supermodel Iman since 1992.

— The Associated Press

Social media tributes to Bowie

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A photo posted by St. Vincent (@st_vincent) on

Bowie's performance with Dallas' Polyphonic Spree

Photos of Bowie through the years

June 4, 1990 -  David Bowie, vowing never to turn back, sings his classics in an emotional and visual concert at Starplex Amphitheatre in Dallas.

June 4, 1990 - David Bowie, vowing never to turn back, sings his classics in an emotional and visual concert at Starplex Amphitheatre in Dallas.

Todd Endorf/The Dallas Morning News
October 10, 1987 - David Bowie in his really big Glass Spider show at Reunion Arena in Dallas.

October 10, 1987 - David Bowie in his really big Glass Spider show at Reunion Arena in Dallas.

Lon Cooper/The Dallas Morning News
August 29, 1983 - David Bowie performs at Reunion Arena in Dallas.

August 29, 1983 - David Bowie performs at Reunion Arena in Dallas.

John Maxwell/The Dallas Morning News
Handout photo of David Bowie (left) and Mick Jagger

Handout photo of David Bowie (left) and Mick Jagger

This is an undated - probably pre-1994 - handout photo scanned from the files formerly stored in TDMN's arts department.

This is an undated - probably pre-1994 - handout photo scanned from the files formerly stored in TDMN's arts department.

David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust  in an undated handout photo.

David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust  in an undated handout photo.

This file photo taken on July 14, 1997 shows British rock star David Bowie on stage at the Parc des Princes in Paris.

This file photo taken on July 14, 1997 shows British rock star David Bowie on stage at the Parc des Princes in Paris.

Jack Guez/Getty Images
This file photo taken on June 9, 1983 shows British singer David Bowie performing on stage at the Auteuil's Hippodrome in Paris.

This file photo taken on June 9, 1983 shows British singer David Bowie performing on stage at the Auteuil's Hippodrome in Paris.

Phillippe Wojazer/Getty Images
In this Dec. 15, 2003 file photo, singer/songwriter David Bowie launches his United States leg of his worldwide tour called "A Reality Tour," at Madison Square Garden in New York.

In this Dec. 15, 2003 file photo, singer/songwriter David Bowie launches his United States leg of his worldwide tour called "A Reality Tour," at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Kathy Willens/The Associated Press
In this Sept. 14, 1995, file photo, David Bowie performs during a concert in Hartford, Conn.

In this Sept. 14, 1995, file photo, David Bowie performs during a concert in Hartford, Conn.

Bob Child/The Associated Press
This file photo taken on October 29, 1991 shows British singer David Bowie performing on stage at the Olympia concert hall, on October 29, 1991, in Paris. 

This file photo taken on October 29, 1991 shows British singer David Bowie performing on stage at the Olympia concert hall, on October 29, 1991, in Paris. 

BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images
This file photo taken on February 12, 1997 shows British singer David Bowie posing for photos after he received a star on the world famous Walk of Fame in Hollywood, CA.

This file photo taken on February 12, 1997 shows British singer David Bowie posing for photos after he received a star on the world famous Walk of Fame in Hollywood, CA.

Vince Bucci/The Associated Press
In this Nov. 1, 1974, file photo, David Bowie performs at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

In this Nov. 1, 1974, file photo, David Bowie performs at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Suzanne Vlamis/The Associated Press
In this Jan. 9, 1997, file photo, David Bowie performs during a concert celebrating his 50th birthday, at Madison Square Garden in New York.

In this Jan. 9, 1997, file photo, David Bowie performs during a concert celebrating his 50th birthday, at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Ron Frehm/The Associated Press
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