David Bowie's family are planning a private ceremony

2016-01-15 16:00

New York - David Bowie's family said on Thursday it planned a private ceremony to celebrate the late rock legend as it honoured his wishes to remain discreet about his death.

"The family of David Bowie is currently making arrangements for a private ceremony celebrating the memory of their beloved husband, father and friend," said a statement on Bowie's official Facebook page.

"They ask once again that their privacy be respected at this most sensitive of times.

"We are overwhelmed by and grateful for the love and support shown throughout the world."

Bowie, one of pop culture's most influential figures whose career took him from glam rock to soul to science fiction films, died on Sunday after an undisclosed 18-month battle with cancer.

Few other details have emerged. Representatives for the London-born artist declined comment on a report in Britain's Daily Mirror that said his body was cremated in New York, his adopted home, immediately after his death.

People close to him said that Bowie wanted to keep his illness away from the glare of 24-hour social media.

He instead released a final album, Blackstar, on his 69th birthday on 8 January in what in retrospect was an elaborate artistic statement on his death and nearly half-century career.

In the words of photographer Annie Leibovitz, "he really curated his death."

Bowie breaks video record

Interest in Bowie's music has soared since his death, with Blackstar expected to top the weekly charts in both the United States and Britain.

Blackstar remained the most downloaded album on Thursday on iTunes in most Western countries, although it slipped to number two in Japan.

Bowie also posthumously broke a record for his music videos.

Vevo, which provides videos licensed by music labels on YouTube and other platforms, said Bowie's videos scored 51 million views on Monday, the day his death was announced.

It marked Vevo's highest number of views ever in a single day for an artist's catalog, wresting the record from fellow British artist Adele, whose videos were seen 36 million times on 23 October when she released her long-awaited song Hello.

The most-watched Bowie video, with more than 20 percent of the total views, was Lazarus off Blackstar.

Released two days before his death, the Lazarus video was afterward seen in a whole new light as Bowie appears in a hospital bed, culminating with the line, "I'll be free / Just like that bluebird."

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