R.I.P., Mr. Bowie

I couldn’t believe it when I woke up this morning to the news that David Bowie had passed away. Because there had been so many celebrity death hoaxes, I started checking other news outlets. Not good. Then I checked the official David Bowie Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Oh, no. No hoax:

And on his son Duncan Jones’ Twitter feed:

Aw, crap, I thought. It’s true. The New York Times and BBC are reporting that Bowie died of cancer, type unspecified. Damn. Given Bowie’s long smoking history my first guess is that it was probably lung cancer, but who knows? It’s devastating, whatever the cancer was. He was supposed to be immortal! Certainly, he seemed that way, as he’s been my favorite musician at least since the early 1980s, when I was in college and first dove into his music other than the obvious hits on ChangesOneBowie. His music has been a huge part of my life, so much so that I can’t remember a time before it. Even in his fallow years in the late 1980s when his music was just not up to its old grandeur (indeed, his Glass Spider Tour was as close to a Spinal Tap moment as Bowie ever got), there was always still something there worth listening to. Then, with his resurgence in the 1990s to the present day he proved his relevance time and time again.

Bowie’s death is all the more depressing given that his latest album, Blackstar, is one of the best I’ve heard from him at least since the 1980s. I had been hopeful after hearing it Friday that there would be more where that came from. Alas, it was not to be. Worse, knowning what I know now makes his two videos from the album even more dark than I thought they were when I first saw them:

The video for Lazarus is particularly poignant in retrospect. Some interpret it as him saying goodbye.

Still, longtime collaborator and producer Tony Visconti said that Blackstar was meant to be Bowie’s parting gift to his fans, and that’s not a bad way to go at all:

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…

Posted by Tony Visconti on Monday, January 11, 2016

It’ll be an all Bowie day at the old office and lab today. Good thing I don’t have any cases or clinic today. Farewell, and thank you Mr. Bowie.