While his family remain silent on the type of cancer from which David Bowie suffered, a number of people close to the singer are speaking out with their own theories and experiences.
Director Ivo van Hove, with whom Bowie was working on the stage show Lazarus, said that Bowie revealed to him that he suffered from liver cancer. “We began collaborating on our show Lazarus and at some point he took me to one side to say that he wouldn’t always be able to be there due to his illness. He told me he had cancer, liver cancer.”
According to the U.K.’s Daily Mail, van Hove was sworn to secrecy. He said Bowie told him “We have to work together very intensely for the next year and I want you to know, if I cannot be there, why that is.”
van Hove also spoke of the December 7 premier of Lazarus to The Times. “He was really weak and when we came off stage he had to take a seat. Then he said, “Let’s make a second one now,” so he still had mental energy to go on.
“I could see the tears behind his eyes, because he was not a man to show off his emotions. He was really in deep fear. I felt he was not in a death struggle but a struggle for life – he wanted to live on. He has a daughter of 15 and he really wanted to go on, but it was physically not possible.”
Wendy Leigh, who wrote a biography on Bowie, told the BBC that Bowie had also had heart problems in his final year. “He didn’t just battle cancer… he had six heart attacks in recent years. I got this from somebody very close to him.”