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A 'genius', a 'starman': politicians join pop stars in Bowie tributes

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A 'genius', a 'starman': politicians join pop stars in Bowie tributes

From London to Los Angeles and beyond, David Bowie fans have been paying tribute following the news of his death.

In London’s West End they laid flowers where the singer once posed for the cover of his “Ziggy Stardust” album.

In Hollywood they gathered by his star on the Walk of Fame; in New York they put wreaths outside his apartment.

The tributes on social media and elsewhere have reflected the huge influence he had on the world of music and beyond.

The Rolling Stones said on Twitter that they were “deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the death of our dear friend David Bowie”.

“As well as being a wonderful and kind man, he was an extraordinary artist, and a true original,” the band added.

Paul McCartney said in his blog that Bowie’s music “played a very strong part in British musical history” and that he would remember the “great laughs” they had had.

Madonna and Kanye West are among a myriad of other artists joining the chorus of praise.

Somewhat sceptical of politicians who rub shoulders with rock stars, Bowie once said in an interview that he wore a pair of women’s high heels when meeting a previous British prime minister.

But today’s tributes have come from many beyond the world of music, including Downing Street’s current occupant. David Cameron said “an immense British talent” was now being mourned.

“Genius is an over-used word but I think musically, creatively, artistically David Bowie was a genius. For someone of my age he provided a lot of the soundtrack of our lives from the first time I heard ‘Space Oddity’ to watching our athletes appear in those wonderful (London 2012) Olympics to the strains of ‘Heroes’,” Cameron said.

The German government tweeted that Bowie had helped bring the Berlin Wall down, and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued a statement describing the impact Bowie had had on Cold War Berlin during the 1970s, where the artist recorded three albums.

“David Bowie had something that is also essential for diplomacy, that is, the curiosity to discover the world through the eyes of others; the willingness to free himself from obsolete clichés and prejudices; and the conviction that borders can be overcome – even if this is not immediately apparent, as was certainly the case in the divided city of Berlin during the 1970s,” Steinmeier said.

In Russia many Muscovites remember a legendary concert in 1996 as part of his ‘Outside’ tour.

“Bowie was an absolutely amazing personality. He was constantly re-inventing himself. He was a person, it seems like from another planet. It wasn’t a coincidence that he had a song called ‘Starman.’ In a way, I think he sang a bit about himself,” said Moscow resident Georgi Aleksandrov.

Music journalist and broadcaster Paul Gambaccini commented on Bowie’s range of styles: ‘‘Such a variety of styles and images can only come from an inquiring mind and that’s what Bowie had – an intensely interested mind, he was always picking up elements of the avant-garde and bringing them into the mainstream,’‘ he said.

With his death, the images and lyrics in the artist’s final single ‘Lazarus’ is no less striking.