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Ricky Gervais: My Friend David Bowie Kept His Cancer Secret From Everyone

During a Monday, April 25, appearance on BBC’s Radio 5 Live, Ricky Gervais revealed that his good friend David Bowie kept his 18-month battle with cancer a secret from everyone prior to his Jan. 10 death.

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“[His death] was a total surprise. I was emailing him two weeks before, so he must have known,” the British comedian, 54, explained of the late “Space Oddity” singer and his unspoken illness. “He kept it from everyone.”

Bowie tragically passed away from liver cancer at age 69, two days after his 27th and final studio album, Blackstar, was released.

“David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer,” a post on the superstar’s official Facebook page read at the time. “While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief.”

“What dignity,” Gervais told Radio 5 Live of his pal. “He was an amazing man. It was something for him and his family. Dignity to the end.”

Ricky Gervais and David Bowie
Ricky Gervais and David Bowie

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The funnyman then went on to explain how he and his fellow Brit became so close. “He was a fan of comedy,” Gervais reminisced. “It’s funny. I was a failed pop star. He loved comedy.”

After the two men formed a friendship in the early-aughts, Bowie agreed to appear in a 2006 episode of Gervais’ HBO/BBC show Extras.

Recalling the scene in which Bowie serenaded Gervais with a silly song called “Little Fat Man,” the actor said the legendary music icon “was amazing in Extras. I sent him the lyrics and I said: ‘Do something quite retro like ‘Life On Mars’ and he went: ‘Oh yeah, I’ll just knock off a quick ‘Life On Mars.'”

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Bowie is survived by his second wife, Iman, whom he married in 1992, and by children Duncan Jones, 44 (from his first marriage to Angie Bowie) and Alexandria Jones, 15, his daughter with Iman. 

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