THE last pictures of David Bowie, who died today, have been released as it emerged he suffered SIX heart attacks in the last year, according to his biographer Wendy Leigh.
Bowie’s death was announced today after a brave 18 month battle with cancer.
Despite his failing health he and his wife Iman attended the New York Theatre Workshop premiere of the musical Lazarus, which he had co-written.
In the photographs, the last time the music icon was seen in public, he is seen tanned and smiling as he walks through the crowds.
The only clue to his ill health is the bottle of medicine he appears to be clutching as one fan looks on concerned at the gaunt star’s appearance.
Ms Leigh, who said she was still very close to Bowie’s family and friends said the illness had triggered six heart attacks in 2015, which the star had fought back from.
The writer also added that she felt Bowie had “orchestrated the timing of his own death” and added: “David made sure he died on a Monday morning so that people in England, the England he loved, found out first.”
The news of the musician’s death was first announced on a verified Facebook and Twitter account associated with David.
A spokesman for the star said: “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.”
The music legend had two children Duncan Jones and Alexandria “Lexi” Zahra Jones.
Duncan, a film director, took to Twitter to confirm the news. He wrote: “Very sorry and sad to say it’s true. I’ll be offline for a while. Love to all.”
Ricky Gervais also took to social media to share his condolences. He tweeted: “I just lost a hero. RIP David Bowie.”
The Brixton-born star, beloved for hits including Space Oddity and Ziggy Stardust, released his final album Blackstar last week.
And there was such high demand that physical copies of the album have sold out on Amazon.
David – who has been an instrumental figure in the music industry for over four decades – could count himself as a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, innovator, painter, and actor.
The glam rock star – who for a short while had a androgynous alter ego named Ziggy Stardust – was most famous for his influence in rock music.
At the time, David Buckley, a biographer, said of Bowie: “His influence has been unique in popular culture—he has permeated and altered more lives than any comparable figure.”
Bowie had been married to model Iman in 1992 after divorcing first wife Angie in 1980.
Paying tribute to the singer on Twitter, comedian and actor Ricky Gervais, who convinced his long-time idol to star as himself – and ridicule Gervais – in an episode of 2006 sitcom Extras, wrote simply: “I just lost a hero. RIP David Bowie.”
He also uploaded an image of himself from the late 1990s dressed as Bowie’s famous alter-ego Ziggy Stardust, taken from the comedian’s 30-minute Comedy Lab episode in which Gervais played the part of a Bowie impersonator.
Radio DJ Fearne Cotton wrote on Instagram: “Devastated. There will only ever be one David Bowie.
“A pioneer, a maverick and a visionary. I’ve been so inspired by him and his intent on doing what he wants without thought of judgment and views of others. RIP to one of the last icons.
David Cameron also took to Twitter to pay tribute to the performer who was best known for hits such as Changes, Life On Mars? and Ashes To Ashes.
The Prime Minister wrote: “I grew up listening to and watching the pop genius David Bowie. He was a master of re-invention, who kept getting it right. A huge loss.”
Australian actor Russell Crowe, referencing one of Bowie’s better known singles which featured on covers album Pin Ups 1973, wrote: “RIP David. I loved your music. I loved you. One of the greatest performance artists to have ever lived. £sorrow”
Rock guitarist Joel Madden, quoting Changes, simply added: “Turn and face the strange.”
Actor Mark Ruffalo wrote: “Rip Father of all us freaks. Sad sad day. Love always Legendary singer David Bowie dies at 69.”
While comedian and writer Eddie Izzard said: “Very sad to hear about the death of David Bowie but through his music he will live forever.”
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme he became a Bowie fan during the singer’s early rise to prominence.
He said: “I’m very, very saddened to hear of his death.
“I remember sitting listening to his songs endlessly in the ’70s particularly and always really relishing what he was, what he did, the impact he had.