Not long after the news broke that iconic musician David Bowie had died, rumors began to swirl about whether or not news of his death was yet another hoax. After all, rumors of David Bowie dying have long been swirling around the singer, to the extent that Twitter has also seen its fair share of people hoping his death is a hoax.
— Megan Verchere (@mverchere) January 11, 2016
The news that David Bowie has died is a hoax. He's immortal. Haven't you seen Labyrinth? (RIP David Bowie) pic.twitter.com/6mEQBSVdqW
— Audit The Media (@AuditTheMedia) January 11, 2016
While there has been no official word about the type of cancer David Bowie died from, the Independent reports that a select few individuals knew David Bowie was dying of liver cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for liver cancer is only around 15 percent, largely because those with liver cancer also have other liver disorders, such as cirrhosis.
One individual who says he knew that David Bowie was dying of liver cancer was Belgian theater director Ivo van Hove, who worked with Bowie on Lazarus, an off-Broadway musical inspired by Walter Tevis’s book The Man Who Fell to Earth. The book gave rise to the 1976 film starring David Bowie, and Bowie co-wrote the musical with playwright Enda Walsh. Its premiere marked one of the last times that David Bowie was seen publicly before he died. While there, he happily signed autographs for fans who turned out for the premiere.
News that David Bowie had died also shocked longtime collaborator Brian Eno, who had received an email about a week before the singer’s death. The two had regularly communicated back and forth over the course of four decades, according to People, and the last email Eno had received was what he now realizes was a goodbye message from David Bowie.
“I received an email from him seven days ago. It was as funny as always, and as surreal, looping through word games and allusions and all the usual stuff we did,” Eno said. “It ended with this sentence: ‘Thank you for our good times, brian. they will never rot’. And it was signed ‘Dawn’. I realize now he was saying goodbye.”
Derek Boshier, an artist best known for creating the album art for David Bowie’s album Lodger, was also thrown when the news broke that David Bowie had died.
“David was such a creative force that working with him sort of imbued that spirit onto you; he passed it on to you,” he said.
Since David Bowie died, there have been some theories that the name of his latest album, Blackstar, could have been an allusion to the cancer he fought. A radial scar in breast cancer patients can leave a black star or a dark star appearance with a mammogram.
News that David Bowie had died even prompted a tweet from astronaut Chris Hadfield, who gained international renown by singing “Space Oddity” during his tenure on the International Space Station. It was a video that was memorable from the time Hadfield posted it; it has been reposted several times since the news of David Bowie’s death.
Hadfield noted that “Space Oddity” defined the world of outer space for a generation.
“His art defined an image of outer space, inner self, and a rapidly changing world for a generation finding themselves at the confluence,” Hadfield said in a blog post on Monday.
Hadfield also noted that, like so many others, he had been a fan of David Bowie’s for years and was glad to have added to the mythos of David Bowie in some small way by recording Space Oddity himself.
“David Bowie has died,” he said in opening his blog post. “It leaves me and, I suspect, millions around the world, with an instant feeling of loss and emptiness – and yet also a wistful joy, a sense of how creative and inspirational just one of us can be.”
[Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images Entertainment]