Bowie's chart career started in 1964, and he only recently released his last album, 'Blackstar'.
The Hollywood Reporter writes that a statement on the singer's official social media accounts stated: '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'.
David Bowie has had 9 number 1 UK albums, and 5 number one singles. Like his contemparies Rod Stewart and Elton John, he also cracked America, enjoying 6 top 10 albums and 2 number one singles. To date, Bowie has sold an estimated 140 million records worldwide.
In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him 39th on their list of the '100 Greatest Artists of All Time', and 23rd on their list of the best singers of all time. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
Bowie once famously said: I'm not a prophet or a stone aged man, just a mortal with the potential of a superman. I'm living on'.
The singer married Somali-American model Iman in 1992. They have a daughter.
Bowie's former wife, Angie, is currently in the UK Big Brother Celebrity house. They divorced in 1980.
Although numerous news sites have carried the story of Bowie's death, many fans are refusing to believe it, insisting that his social media accounts must have been hacked.