David Bowie Dies of Cancer at 69

Today is going to be hard. Unless you stayed up super late lamenting over the clusterf–k that was the Golden Globes (may Ricky Gervais never approach a podium in front of people again), you likely woke up to the same news I did: after an 18-month battle with cancer, David Bowie died, surrounded by his family and friends.

And this one hurts. I know losing any celebrity and/or icon we love and admire feels terrible, but David Bowie. David Bowie. DAVID BOWIE. He’s not even human. He’s the boy who fell from Mars. He’s the Thin White Duke. The Goblin King (if you grew up in the 1980 and 1990s and your friends were obsessed with Labyrinth and spent so much of middle school yelling, “You don’t have any power over me! Power over me! Power over me!”) He’s meant to live forever. Most of us have never lived in a world he’s missing from. But look, I like to think of it like this — now, he’s gone back to Mars, he’s gone back to space, and he gave us 69 phenomenal Earth years to teach us why being yourself is so important.

But I mean, we can hang out here and I can make you read why David Bowie was important and why we’ll miss him, but that would be ridiculous because I’m 99.9% sure that he meant something special to all of us because there’s no way to narrow David Bowie down to a sentence or two. The man is special. He is rare. He is David fucking Bowie, and while he may not be physically on this planet, he certainly isn’t gone. He still belongs to us the way he did before — maybe more — because we can and will hold him close and shape the memories we have of him into what we need him to be.

David Bowie has always been what we needed him to be. And I’m sure today out of all days, you’ll see exactly what he meant to people you thought you knew, and will now know better. Because that’s also what David Bowie did: he encouraged us all to be weird and to be loud and to be brave and be ourselves, and in between crying at your desk and crying on public transit, and in between saying “I’m fine! Really!” way too chipper to people who just don’t get it (honestly, if you have to ask why we’re sad today, stop — just stop, and pretend we’re sad that The Revenant won over Room last night and leave us alone), remember that individuality was one of Bowie’s biggest gifts to us. It takes guts to be yourselves, and he had it in spades — then showed us that we all have it too.

So I’ll miss you, David Bowie. But I know you’re not gone. I know you’ve returned to where you came from, and you’re recharging and you’re mingling with Lou Reed and Ad-Rock and Elaine Stritch and Lemmy and all the legends who’ve left Earth to do their own thing. But thank you. For all of it. For everything. And when a middle-schooler realizes they don’t fit into the culture that setting seems to dictate and that they’d rather just be unabashedly themselves, may they find you.

Even though we all know that like magic, you will find them.

Tags: Anne T. Donahue, David Bowie

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  1. Avatar
    • Richard Good
    • January 12, 2016

    It’s quite obvious that the writer of this piece (Anne T. Donahue) had almost no prior knowledge of David Bowie beyond her long-past childhood viewing habits. She’s very lucky to be so skilled in using Google for all of her research. She has nothing to say and takes forever to say it.

  2. Avatar
    • K Samson
    • January 11, 2016

    What an incredibly self-serving, vacuous piece of garbage writing. If the author can name even two Bowie albums without having to check Wikipedia I’d be beyond shocked. Please up your standards 29 Secrets. Bowie deserves more than the transparent, cloying sentiments of a narcissist.

  3. Avatar
    • Name Anonymous
    • January 11, 2016

    There are literally thousands of tributes to David Bowie today, and the only one to mention the Golden Globes, themselves, and the words “David fucking Bowie,” is this one. So disrespectful. This author is writing an article just to write an article. It is OKAY if you don’t connect with every living celebrity. It is OKAY if you don’t connect with the death of every celebrity. Let the rest of us have our peace, our quiet, our time with our Starman. I am ashamed of you, Anne T. Donahue. I am ashamed of you, 29secrets. I am ashamed, as a David Bowie fan, that this article was allowed into our day of mourning.

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