No Funeral for David Bowie, Who Was Quietly Cremated After His Death

Private to the last, David Bowie will not have a funeral service.

A mural in South London has become a shrine to the late David Bowie. Photo: Jim Dyson, courtesy Getty Images.
A mural in South London has become a shrine to the late David Bowie. Photo: Jim Dyson, courtesy Getty Images.

David Bowie‘s fans, still reeling from the unexpected death of the legendary 69-year-old musician on Sunday, today learned that the singer’s body was privately created in New York shortly after his passing.

According to the Daily News, Bowie told those closest to him that he wanted to “go without any fuss.” The lack of a funeral service is in keeping with the star’s highly-private lifestyle. Very few people knew that Bowie was dying of terminal liver cancer, despite his having been diagnosed roughly 18 months ago.

New York state offers a “direct cremation” service in which the deceased’s remains are cremated “without a formal viewing, visitation, or ceremony,” according to the health department website.

David Bowie, Heroes album cover from graphic artist Masayoshi Sukita. Photo: RCA.

David Bowie, Heroes album cover from graphic artist Masayoshi Sukita.
Photo: RCA.

 

A previously-scheduled Bowie tribute concert to be held at New York’s Carnegie Hall on March 31 is now being called a memorial concert. Performers will include Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Cyndi Lauper, and the Roots, among others.

Bowie released his final album, Blackstar, on his 69th birthday, just two days before his death. As recently as December 7, however, Bowie was reportedly still hoping to keep recording. “Let’s make a second one now,” he told Lazarus director Ivo van Hove at the premiere of the Off-Broadway play, the London Times reported. Bowie wrote the play, which was a sequel to The Man Who Fell to Earth, with Edna Walsh.

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In the wake of Bowie’s death, New Yorkers set up a makeshift shrine outside his New York apartment, with fans lining up around the block in Soho for the chance to pay tribute to the dead star. Similar memorials popped up in London.

Album cover shoot for Aladdin Sane, 1973. Design: Brian Duffy and Celia Philo; make up: Pierre La Roche. Photo: Brian Duffy. Photo Duffy © Duffy Archive & The David Bowie Archive.

Album cover shoot for Aladdin Sane, 1973. Design: Brian Duffy and Celia Philo; make up: Pierre La Roche.
Photo: Brian Duffy. Photo Duffy © Duffy Archive & The David Bowie Archive.

“In many respects you don’t need a memorial or service to remember David by,” an anonymous source close to Bowie told the Mirror. “You have his music instead.”

In post on Facebook, Bowie’s producer, Tony Visconti, praised the musician’s decision to eschew elaborate funeral plans, saying “his death was no different from his life—a work of art. He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift.”


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