The death brings the curtain down on one of the most acclaimed artists of modern British music, with a career dating back to the hit Space Oddity in 1969, about an astronaut called Major Tom, who is abandoned in space. (Also Read: David Bowie, Rock Legend and Actor, Dies at 69)
It spanned styles ranging from glam rock, New Romantic, Krautrock and dance music to alternative rock, jungle, soul and hard rock, underpinned by an astonishing array of stage personas from the sexually ambiguous Ziggy Stardust to the so-called Thin White Duke.
He was born David Robert Jones in Brixton, inner south London, on January 8, 1947, before his family moved out to the leafy suburb of Bromley when he was six.
Master of Re-Invention
In the first of many re-inventions, he named himself David Bowie in 1966 to avoid confusion with Davy Jones, lead singer with Beatles rivals The Monkees, and studied Buddhism and mime. (Also Read - Ground Control to David Bowie: 10 Songs to Remember Him By)
The 1970s - the decade that saw him dominate the British music scene and conquer the United States - brought forward a string of successful albums.
It began with the critically acclaimed Hunky Dory, continued with The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars - whose hits included Starman and Suffragette City - followed by the rock album Aladdin Sane, the apocalyptic Diamond Dogs and a fling with so-called plastic soul, Station to Station.
He then switched gears once more, moving to Berlin to work with the electronic experimentalist Brian Eno product a trio of albums - Low, Heroes and Lodger.
The 1980s saw him win over a new generation with Let's Dance, which yielded the hit singles China Girl and Modern Love, and a 1985 teamup with Mick Jagger for a cover of Dancin' in the Street that helped to push the BandAid and LiveAid charity projects.
British Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to David Bowie's ability for innovation.
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.? David Cameron (@David_Cameron) January 11, 2016
Mr Bowie was also a record producer, painter and actor. His best known screen work is in The Man Who Fell To Earth, in which he played the lead, and as the Goblin King in Labyrinth. He made cameo appearances in Zoolander and The Last Temptation Of Christ. He also starred in an acclaimed production of The Elephant Man on Broadway.
David Bowie was married twice, first to model-actress Angie Bowie and later to supermodel Iman, who survives him. He is also survived by filmmaker Duncan Jones, his son with Angie, and Alexandria, his daughter with Iman.