David Bowie’s death on Sunday at the age of 69 prompted an outpouring of grief around the world. From Hollywood, to the Vatican, to the London Tube, to Low Earth Orbit, people have been taking to social media to share their condolences and memories of the legendary British singer.
Bowie was renowned for his eclectic nature, and the range of his influence is reflected in the spectrum of those mourning his loss. Since the singer's death, Spotify streams of his catalog have increased by 2,700 percent and Twitter has logged more than 4.3 million tweets mentioning the rocker, from actors and musicians to everyday fans.
A selection of some of the most poignant posts below:
In a post to her Facebook page, pop singer Madonna expressed the sentiments shared by a countless number of Bowie’s fans.
“I never felt like I fit in growing up,” she wrote. “Like an oddball or a freak.”
Then, one night, she snuck out of her house to see Bowie in concert with a friend and was inspired by his onstage persona, ambiguous gender and sexuality, and overall willingness to be different. Madonna, who would chart her own path as a provocative artist with a larger-than-life personality, credits Bowie for the direction her own career took.
“I found him so inspiring and innovative,” Madonna continued. “Unique and provocative. A real Genius [sic]. His music was always inspiring but seeing him live set me off on a journey that for me I hope will never end.”
DAVID BOWIE John and David respected each other. They were well matched in intellect and talent. As John and I had very few friends we felt David was as close as family. After John died, David was always there for Sean and me. When Sean was at boarding school in Switzerland, David would pick him up and take him on trips to museums and let Sean hang out at his recording studio in Geneva. For Sean this is losing another father figure. It will be hard for him, I know. But we have some sweet memories which will stay with us forever. Yoko Ono Lennon NYC, 11 January 2016
Musician Yoko Ono wrote on social media that she and her late husband, Beatles front man John Lennon, had always felt that “David was as close as family.”
Bowie and Lennon became friends in the 1970s, with Lennon contributing to the 1975 album "Young Americans." When Lennon was murdered in 1980, Bowie stepped in to support Ono and the couple’s son, musician Sean Lennon.
“David was always there for Sean and me,” Ono wrote. “For Sean, this is losing another father figure…But we have some sweet memories which will stay with us forever.”
"Very sad news to wake up to on this raining morning. David was a great star and I treasure the moments we had together. His music played a very strong part in British musical history and I’m proud to think of the huge influence he has had on people all around the world. I send my deepest sympathies to his family and will always remember the great laughs we had through the years. His star will shine in the sky forever." - Paul Photo of Paul and David Bowie by @LindaMcCartney 1985 #PaulMcCartney #DavidBowie
We had so many good times together. He was my friend, I will never forget him. 2/2 pic.twitter.com/9xfPj88x8b— Mick Jagger (@MickJagger) January 11, 2016
Legendary British musicians Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger each took to social media to share memories and photos of Bowie. McCartney, who shared the stage with Bowie at the 1985 Live Aid concert, praised Bowie for his musical impact.
“David was a great star and I treasure the moments we had together,” he said in a statement. “His star will shine in the sky forever.”
Jagger, lead singer of British rock band The Rolling Stones, was close friends with Bowie. The duo famously danced together in the music video for their 1985 hit, “Dancing In The Street.”
“David was always an inspiration to me and a true original,” Jagger wrote on Twitter, sharing a photo of himself with Bowie. “We had so many good times together.”
English producer Brian Eno worked closely with Bowie in the 1970s, producing a series of hit albums with the musician in Berlin. In a statement released to BBC News, Eno described the duo’s decades-long friendship.
“We knew each other for over 40 years,” Eno said. “I feel a huge gap now.”
According to Eno, the two had recently corresponded about working on an album together again. Bowie released his 25th and final album, "Blackstar," three days before his death. Eno received an email from Bowie last week, which at the time seemed normal but takes on a different tone in light of his death.
“It ended with this sentence: ‘Thank you for our good times, brian [sic]. they will never rot,’” Eno said. “I realise now he was saying goodbye.”
Commander Chris Hadfield
Ashes to ashes, dust to stardust. Your brilliance inspired us all. Goodbye Starman. pic.twitter.com/FbcxlAzces— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) January 11, 2016
Unlike the others on this list, Chris Hadfield is not a professional musician. A Canadian astronaut, who was the commander of the International Space Station from March 2013 until May of that year.
While in orbit, Hadfield recorded a cover of Bowie’s 1969 hit, “Space Oddity.” The video has been viewed on YouTube more than 27 million times. Bowie himself praised the video when it was released, calling it “possibly the most poignant version of the song ever created.”
Hadfield tweeted out a simple elegy: “Your brilliance inspired us all. Goodbye Starman."