Bowie's hits include 'Space Oddity', 'Starman', 'Rebel Rebel', 'Life on Mars' and 'Let's Dance', and he was well known for creating the alter ego Ziggy Stardust. Bowie's latest album, 'Blackstar', was released in January 2016, on his 69th birthday.
In 2013 Bowie was voted the best-dressed Briton in history in a poll by BBC History Magazine, winning the title with 48.5 per cent of the votes. He was nominated by designer Wayne Hemingway, who told the magazine: "Here was a creative genius who understood art and design, looked cool, inspired us and upset the establishment. All these attributes lead to things that drive humankind forward… change".
Here, we explore Bowie's life in pictures...
David Bowie (location unknown), c1969. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
David Bowie plays an acoustic Espana 12-string guitar to promote the release of his album 'Space Oddity' in November 1969 in London. Based on a story of an abandoned astronaut, Major Tom, orbiting the earth, 'Space Oddity' became a hit in 1969, the year of the first moon landing. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
David Bowie poses for a portrait in the guise of the sexually ambiguous Ziggy Stardust in June 1972 in London. The release of the album 'The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars' and the accompanying tour brought Bowie worldwide fame. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
From left: guitarist Mick Ronson, bassist Trevor Bolder, David Bowie and drummer Mick Woodmansey of 'Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars' pose for a portrait in London in November 1972. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
David Bowie with his first wife, Angela Barnett (Angie), 9 July 1973. The pair married on 20 March 1970 and had one son together, Zowie, in 1971, before divorcing in 1980. (Photo by Smith/Express/Getty Images)
David Bowie performs 'Rebel Rebel' on the TV show TopPop on 7 February 1974 in Hilversum, Netherlands. (Photo by Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns)
From left: David Bowie, Art Garfunkel, Paul Simon, Yoko Ono, John Lennon and Roberta Flack attending the Grammy Awards at the Uris Theater, New York, 1 March 1975. (Photo by Tim Boxer/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
David Bowie poses for a portrait in 1976. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
David Bowie stars with Candy Clark in the film 'The Man Who Fell to Earth', 1976. The late 1970s saw Bowie concentrate on acting. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images).
David Bowie takes a break from playing the title role in a broadway play based on the life of John Merrick, the 'Elephant Man', October 1980. Bowie used mime to convey the character's deformity, rather than relying on make-up. (Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images)
David Bowie poses during a press conference to present his new album 'Let's Dance' at the Claridge hotel in London on 17 March 1983. The album introduced Bowie to a whole new generation. (Photo by AFP/Getty Images)
David Bowie performs at Wembley Stadium during his Glass Spider tour, 19 June 1987. (Photo by Peter Still/Redferns)
David Bowie performs with Tin Machine at Paradiso in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on 24 June 1989. In its Bowie obituary, BBC News explains: "The late 1980s were dominated by Bowie's involvement with his new band, a postmodernist heavy metal outfit, Tin Machine. This project, which was designed to allow Bowie to re-examine his rock 'n' roll roots, produced two albums of questionable quality and was panned by the listening public and critics alike". (Photo by Frans Schellekens/Redferns)
David Bowie pictured with his future (second) wife, Iman, at an Aids research benefit, 29 November 1990. The pair married in 1992. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
David Bowie poses for a portrait in London, 1992. (Photo by Terry O'Neill/Getty Images)
David Bowie performs at the London Astoria as part of his ‘The Hours...' tour, 2 December 1999. (Photo by Nicky J. Sims/Redferns)
David Bowie being interviewed by Conan O'Brien on the TV show 'Late Night With Conan O'Brien', which aired on 16 November 1999. (Photo by Lesly Weiner/NBCU Photo Bank)
David Bowie with his wife, Iman, at the 2005 CFDA Fashion Awards at New York Public Library in New York. (Photo by Gregory Pace/FilmMagic)
David Bowie performs at the Capital Theater in Port Chester, New York, 14 October 2007. (Photo by Ke.Mazur/WireImage)
David Bowie attends the 2010 CFDA Fashion Awards at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, New York, on 7 June 2010. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
A selection of costumes and outfits worn by David Bowie, displayed at the 'David Bowie is' exhibition at the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum in central London, 20 March 2013. The exhibition, which became the museum's fastest-selling show, featured more than 300 objects including handwritten lyrics, original costumes, photographs, films, music videos, set designs and Bowie's own instruments. (Photo by LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)