David Bowie, whose incomparable sound and chameleon-like capability to reinvent himself made him a pop music fixture more than four decades, has died. He was 69.

Bowie died Sunday after an 18-month grapple with cancer, his publicist Steve Martin told CNN.

“David Bowie died peacefully today encompassed by his family after having a courageous 18 month struggle with cancer. While many people will be part of this loss, we ask you respect the family’s privacy in their time of grief,” said an announcement posted on his official social websites accounts.

Neither his publicist nor the statement elaborated of what kind of cancer the singer was fighting.

Bowie’s death continues to be the regular subject of internet hoaxes the past several years. So the news came being a shock to fans and industry insiders if it was confirmed.

“Very sorry and it’s unfortunate it’s true. I’ll be offline for a time. Love to all,” his son, Duncan Jones, tweeted.

From a mop-topped unknown singer called David Jones, to his space alien alter ego “Ziggy Stardust,” to his dapper departure because the Thin White Duke, Bowie married music and fashion in many ways few artists are already able to master.

He was theatrical, he was flamboyant, he was without parallel as part of his showmanship.

With a voice that soared from your baritone with a falsetto, he spoke of carrying on contrary to the odds. Of the terror in being aware of what the world is approximately. Of turning and facing the strange.

His songs were a salve for that alienated along with the misfits of the entire world.

Bowie had just released his latest album, ‘Blackstar,’ on Friday, his 69th birthday. It shot to no. 1 about the iTunes chart within the U.K. with out. 2 from the U.S., underscoring his appeal even with decades inside the music business.

Like his past releases, the job — generally praised by music critics — defied genres. The influential music publication NME referred to it as an amalgamation of “warped showtunes, skronking industrial rock, soulful balladeering, airy folk-pop, even hip-hop.”

That simply speaking was Bowie: there wasn’t a musical style he didn’t dabble in – and indelibly leave his mark upon.

Since his breakthrough with 1972’s ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust plus the Spiders from Mars,” Bowie’s reach was eclectic: glam rock, prog rock, pop rock, electronic rock.

Lazarus by David Bowie

And the outcome? Electric. To the tune of greater than 130 million records sold.

Though he was missing his first No. 1 single inside the United States until “Fame” in 1975, he’d also been making a mark with heavily played singles, including “Space Oddity,” “Changes,” “Suffragette City,” “Rebel Rebel” with the exceptional first Top 40 hit, 1975’s “Young Americans.”

After that, he was almost as present about the singles charts as being the album charts, with hits for instance “Golden Years,” “Under Pressure” (with Queen), “Let’s Dance” (another No. 1), “Blue Jean” and “Never Let Me Down.”

David Bowie was considered one of my most essential inspirations, so fearless, so creative, he gave us magic for lifelong,” tweeted rapper Kanye West, as news of his death made the rounds.