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Starman: Gallery of David Bowie through the decades

MusicBy Sunday World
David Bowie in 1973
David Bowie in 1973
David Bowie in 1970
David Bowie in 1970
David Bowie in 1973
David Bowie in 1973
David Bowie in 1987
David Bowie in 1987
David Bowie in 1987
David Bowie in 1987
David Bowie in 1999
David Bowie in 1999
David Bowie in 2002
David Bowie in 2002
With wife Iman in 2003
With wife Iman in 2003
David Bowie in 2004
David Bowie in 2004
David Bowie in 2010
David Bowie in 2010
David Bowie in 2014
David Bowie in 2014

The death of the 69-year-old after an 18-month battle with cancer has saddened the world but his legacy will live on forever.

Bowie had just released a new album, Blackstar, on Friday, his 69th birthday.

Bowie made a surprise comeback in 2013 when he suddenly released a new single on his 66th birthday with an album out just weeks later, his first for 10 years.

The star made a habit of confounding the critics - killing off his most famous creation, Ziggy Stardust, at the height of his fame - and reinventing himself in roles including glam rocker, soul singer and hippie songwriter.

Bowie, born David Jones in post-war Brixton, south London, kicked off his music career in the R&B boom of the early Sixties.

In 1969 he made his first appearance in the charts with Space Oddity.

A string of albums followed, before 1972's The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars made him an international star.

The 1980s saw him combine his pop career with appearances in films including Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence and Absolute Beginners.

1988 brought a new venture - and what many fans thought was a new low - when he returned as one quarter of rock band Tin Machine.

Their initial success soon faded and by 1993 Bowie was back on his own with the solo album Black Tie White Noise.

He had married supermodel Iman a year earlier before settling in New York. The pair remained together until his death. Bowie continued to tour and record until 2003, when he released Reality.

The same year he sparked headlines when he turned down a knighthood in the Queen's New Year honours because he reportedly viewed the honours as a "waste of time".

Reality was his 23rd - and many assumed last - studio album and was followed by some low-key live appearances.

Then during his tour in 2004, Bowie suffered a major health scare when he had a heart attack on stage in Germany. The rest of the tour was cancelled as the singer recuperated, reducing his musical output for the next two years. During this time he worked on music for films such as Shrek 2 and Stealth, and collaborated with Canadian band Arcade Fire and Lou Reed.

In 2006, Bowie returned to acting, playing the part of scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla in the Chris Nolan-directed film The Prestige. A year later, he starred as himself in an episode of Ricky Gervais's comedy series Extras.

He received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. In November of that year, he performed alongside Alicia Keys at the Black Ball, a New York benefit for Keep A Child Alive. This was the last time he performed live, despite constant hope from his fans that he would reverse his decision to quit live performances.