David Bowie's wicked dark humour revealed in last cancer battle letter to actor Gary Oldman
11 June 2021, 17:05 | Updated: 15 June 2021, 16:04
David Bowie wrote a reflective letter to his old friend Gary Oldman in 2016 to tell him of his terminal cancer diagnosis, with the star cracking jokes until the very end.
David Bowie was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was given just three months to live, but his sense of humour never left him.
The singer released his 25th and final album Black Star on his 69th birthday and passed away just two days later, to the shock of fans all over the world.
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After Bowie's untimely death on January 10, 2016 the singer was posthumously honoured at an emotional BRIT Awards ceremony by grieving friends and fellow performers on February 24.
The 'Life On Mars' singer was honoured for his music and influence over his varied and long career, with his good friend actor Gary Oldman accepting the Icon Award on David's behalf.
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While the knowledge of David Bowie's illness was kept a secret from the public the star had told his close friends of his diagnosis, with Gary Oldman revealing Bowie's characteristic wit until the very end.
The three-time Oscar winning actor told an emotional audience: "He faced his illness with enormous courage, dignity, grace and customary humour - even in dire circumstances."
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Oldman then went onto reveal exactly how David Bowie had broken the news to him with typical grit and humour: "When he wrote to tell me the bad news, he added, 'The good news is I've got my cheekbones back.'"
Gary then went on to describe David's final thoughts on music.
"In recent years," the actor continued, "David sparingly spoke about music and his process; but in one of these rare instances, he graciously and elegantly expounded, 'Music has given me over 40 years of extraordinary experiences.
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"'I can't say that life's pains or more tragic episodes have been diminished because of it, but it has allowed me so many moments of companionship that when I have been lonely and sublime means communications when I have wanted to touch people.
"'It has been my doorway of perception and the house that I live in.'"
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Gary added: "Over his career, David challenged and changed our understanding of the medium, whether in music or life, he emphasised originality, experimentation, exploration, and is his very unique way, he also reminded us to never take ourselves too seriously."
Watch the 2016 BRIT Awards David Bowie tribute video below:
David Bowie Tribute l The BRIT Awards 2016
The night also saw Annie Lennox give a tribute to the star with whom she had famously performed a breathtaking duet of 'Under Pressure' at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992.
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"For me, it's almost impossible to mention Bowie's name in the past tense," she said.
"Everything he represented as an artist always was and will be incredibly present.
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"As a cutting edge, artistic genius, he continues to live on through his music."
Ricky Gervais on his hero and friend David Bowie