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David Bowie: See Star’s Transformation Into Rock Legend

The chameleon-like star transformed the sound — and the look — of rock with his audacious creativity and his sexually ambiguous costumes.

David Bowie poses for a portrait in 1966 in London. David Bowie, the chameleon-like star who transformed the sound — and the look — of rock with his audacious creativity and his sexually ambiguous makeup and costumes, died of cancer Sunday. He was 69 and had just released a new album. Born David Jones in London, the singer came of age in the glam rock era of the early 1970s. He had a striking androgynous look in his early days and was known for changing his appearance and sounds. Cyrus Andrews / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
Bowie plays an acoustic Espana 12-string guitar to promote the release of his album "Space Oddity" in November 1969 in London. Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust period in Philadelphia on Dec. 1, 1972. Brian Horton / AP
Adoring fans reach out to touch the hand of Bowie during the concert at the Hammersmith Odeon on July 3, 1973 where Bowie announced that he was retiring his alter-ego 'Ziggy Stardust'. Steve Wood / Express via Getty Images
Bowie is seen off at a station by his wife Angie on July 9, 1973. Bowie was married twice, to the actress and model Mary Angela "Angie" Barnett from 1970-80, and to international supermodel Iman since 1992. He had two children — Duncan Jones and Alexandria Zahra Jones — one with each wife. Smith / Express via Getty Images
Bowie with his wife Angie and son after receiving an award for his latest record "Ziggy stardust" in Amsterdam on Feb. 17, 1974. AFP - Getty Images
Bowie performs at Radio City Music Hall in New York on Nov. 1, 1974. SUZANNE VLAMIS / AP

Bowie circa 1974.

Bowie had a striking androgynous look in his early days and was known for changing his appearance and sounds. After "Ziggy Stardust," the stuttering rock sound of "Changes" gave way to the disco soul of "Fame," co-written with John Lennon, to a droning collaboration with Brian Eno in Berlin that produced "Heroes."

Anwar Hussein / Hulton Archive via Getty Images
Bowie visits his attorney before his court appearance in Rochester to answer to charges of illegal possession of drugs on March 25, 1976. Bowie was arrested early on March 21, 1976, following a concert in Rochester. AP
Bowie performs on stage at Madison Square Garden as part of the Low/Heroes 1978 World Tour on May 1, 1978. Richard E. Aaron / Redferns via Getty Images
Deborah Harry of the rock band Blondie visits Bowie backstage at the Booth Theater where he was starring in "The Elephant Man," in Nov. 1980. Nancy Kaye / AP
Bowie rehearses a scene in the Broadway show "The Elephant Man" with co-star Patricia Elliott on Sept. 17, 1980. Bowie played the title role. MARTY LEDERHANDLER / AP
Bowie attends a press photo call ahead of his second album release at a hotel in London on March 17, 1983. Redman / AP
Bowie performs on stage in Frankfurt, Germany on May 20, 1983. JUERGEN DUERRWALD / EPA
British singer David Bowie poses for a photo during a press conference at the 36th Cannes Film Festival on May 13, 1983. RALPH GATTI / AFP - Getty Images
David Bowie performs on stage at London's Wembley Stadium during the Live Aid famine relief rock concert on July 13, 1985. Joe Schaber / AP
Bowie performs in front of the Reichstag on the west side of the Berlin Wall on June 6, 1987. People in East Berlin tried listening to the concert from the other side of the wall until police pushed them back. Bowie lived in West Berlin in the late 1970s and Mayor Michael Mueller said Monday that "Heroes" became "the hymn of our then-divided city and its longing for freedom." Germany's Foreign Ministry added Bowie was "now among heroes" and thanked him for "helping to bring down the wall." Chris Hoffmann / dpa via AP
Bowie performs during a concert at Wembley Stadium in London on June 20, 1987. AP

Bowie is seen in 1987. He had some of his biggest successes in the early 1980s with the bombastic "Let's Dance," and a massive American tour. Another one of his definitive songs was "Under Pressure," which he recorded with Queen; Vanilla Ice would years later infamously use the song's hook for his smash hit "Ice Ice Baby."

AP
Bowie performs on stage during an open air concert in Hamburg, Germany on June 14, 1987. WERNER BAUM / AFP - Getty Images
Bowie announces his new world tour at a press conference in London on Jan. 23, 1990. JOHNNY EGGITT / AFP - Getty Images
Bowie plays an acoustic guitar while being photographed at a press conference in Tokyo on May 19, 1990. AP
Bowie performs on stage during a concert in Paris on Sept. 21, 1991. PIERRE VERDY / AFP - Getty Images
Bowie and his wife Iman arrive for the launching of a new art magazine at the Fine Art Society's Mayfair gallery in London on Sept. 19, 1994. Bowie married the Somali-American supermodel in 1992. GREG BOS / Reuters
Bowie performs in Hartford, Conn. on Sept. 14, 1995. BOB CHILD / AP
Bowie performs at the Panathinaikos stadium in Athens during a rock festival on July 1, 1996. Reuters
Bowie and his wife Iman smile as they pose for photos after Bowie received a star on the world famous Walk of Fame in Los Angeles on Feb. 13, 1997. VINCE BUCCI / AFP - Getty Images
Bowie headlines the Glastonbury Festival 2000 on June 25, 2000. DAN CHUNG / Reuters
Iman and Bowie arrive at the Council of Fashion Designers of America Fashion Awards in New York on June 3, 2002. Bowie — with his outrageous alter egos — was famed as much for his image and powerful influence on fashion design as he was for his music. SUZANNE PLUNKETT / AP
Bowie performs in Paris on July 1, 2002. BERTRAND GUAY / AFP - Getty Images
Bowie performs at the Hammersmith Appollo in London on Oct. 3, 2002. Dave Benett / Getty Images
Iman and Bowie laugh as they arrive at the Vanity Fair Tribeca Film Festival Party on April 24, 2007 in New York. Dima Gavrysh / AP
Iman and Bowie arrive at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala, Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy, held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 5, 2008 in New York City. Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images
Bowie and his son director Duncan Jones, left, arrive for the premiere of "Moon" during the Tribeca Film Festival at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center on April 30, 2009 in New York. Jason DeCrow / AP
Bowie and Iman attend a gala at Cipriani on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images for DKMS