The news was confirmed by his son on Twitter.
Very sorry and sad to say it's true. I'll be offline for a while. Love to all. pic.twitter.com/Kh2fq3tf9m— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) January 11, 2016
A statement on the star's official Facebook page read: "David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer."
Bowie had just released what was his final album, Blackstar, on his 69th birthday.
RIP David. I loved your music. I loved you. One of the greatest performance artists to have ever lived. #sorrow— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) January 11, 2016
During his almost 50-year career, Bowie released 28 albums including: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, The Spiders from Mars and Young Americans.
— Madonna (@Madonna) January 11, 2016
DEVASTATED…💔 A LEGEND IS GONE✨🌟✨— Cher (@cher) January 11, 2016
Hashtag #Bowie is trending on Twitter with fellow musicians, record labels and fans using social media to share their sadness following the death of one of Britain's most successful music artists.
It's not often I truly cry at the loss of an artist but I'm devastated. He meant so much. Goodbye David Bowie and our youth. We loved you. X— Marc Almond (@MarcAlmond) January 11, 2016
Comedian and actor Ricky Gervais simply tweeted: "I just l lost a hero. RIP David Bowie."
Midge Ure, who worked with Bowie on Live Aid, told ITV that Bowie's death was "devastating."
"I can't think of anyone else other than the Beatles who has affected so many people with their music and their thoughts and emotions", he said.
"He infiltrated every genre of music. He changed everything."
Sean Lennon, son of Yoko Ono and John Lennon, paid tribute to a man described by his mother as a "father figure," following the death of John Lennon.
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron joined the tributes, calling David Bowie a "genius."
I grew up listening to and watching the pop genius David Bowie. He was a master of re-invention, who kept getting it right. A huge loss.— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) January 11, 2016
And British astronaut Tim Peake sent a message from space.
Peake, who has been on the International Space Station since December wrote: "Saddened to hear David Bowie has lost his battle with cancer — his music was an inspiration to many."
— The Rolling Stones (@RollingStones) January 11, 2016
Bowie was born in Brixton, south London in 1947.
— Jessica Beck (@mizbeck) January 11, 2016
While many people have left flowers, thousands have simply said "Thank you" — to David Bowie for the music he made for many generations.
— Andrée Bernard (@Andree_Bernard) January 11, 2016
David Bowie died peacefully surrounded by his family.