NEW YORK, Jan 15, 2016:

David Bowie’s family said it planned a private ceremony to celebrate the late rock legend, honouring his wishes to remain discreet about his death.

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

Few other details have emerged.

“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.”

Representatives for the London-born artist declined to 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 Friday 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”.

Huge interest in tributes

Bowie’s death triggered an outpouring of mourning, with fans around the world leaving flowers, candles and glitter on sites associated with the artist, and leading musicians including Elton John and Madonna covering his songs live.

“It is important to note that while the concerts and tributes planned for the coming weeks are all welcome, none are official memorials organized or endorsed by the family,” the Facebook statement said.

“Just as each and every one of us found something unique in David’s music, we welcome everyone’s celebration of his life as they see fit.”

In an eerie coincidence, a tribute concert to Bowie at New York’s Carnegie Hall had been announced just moments before his death.

Performers for the March 31 concert, which sold out quickly, include Cyndi Lauper — whose flamboyant appearance in the 1980s showed a clear influence of Bowie — and Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction, who brought a broader audience to alternative rock in the early 1990s.

Organizers late Thursday announced that the tribute would extend to a second night on April 1 at Radio City Music Hall, another prominent, but larger venue in New York.

“The unexpected death of David Bowie has turned this tribute, which we have worked on for the past seven months, into a memorial concert,” organizers said in a statement.

The shows “will certainly be remembered as a poignant celebration of his music by his friends, peers and fans,” they said.

The concerts will feature a house band with Tony Visconti, Bowie’s longtime producer.

Visconti also plays bass in a Bowie tribute band called Holy Holy, which went ahead Tuesday and Wednesday with shows in Toronto that turned into a rock-driven mourning session for the fallen star.

Bowie breaks video record

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

Blackstar remained the most downloaded album on Apple 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 artiste’s catalogue, wresting the record from fellow British artist Adele, whose videos were seen 36 million times on Oct 23 when she released her long-awaited song Hello.

The most-watched Bowie video, with more than 20% 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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