“Goodbye Starman”: The best tributes to David Bowie, from astronauts to cardinals

In Brixton, the star’s birthplace.
In Brixton, the star’s birthplace.
Image: EPA/Andy Rain
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David Bowie was an inspiration to millions of fans and a generation of musicians through his music and his lyric writing. After the singer died this weekend, at the age of 69 and three days after the release of his 28th album, people from a vast range of fields made their grief public—and talked about how Bowie had touched their lives.

Politicians were quick to talk about the loss. In the singer’s native Britain, the prime minister had this to say:

Former prime minister Tony Blair may have been an even more avid fan. Meeting Bowie was one of the only times Blair had seemed “struck” by celebrity, said political strategist Alistair Campbell.

Gianfranco Ravasi, a cardinal and the Vatican’s culture minister, tweeted lyrics from the Bowie classic Space Oddity, and a blessing:

Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of NATO, also was moved:

Benoit Hamon, a French socialist politician, told his 200,000 followers not to give in to the feeling that the disappearance of Bowie was more than the end of an era of freedom:

Carla Antonelli, a Spanish socialist, said he was an icon for generations:

Sportspeople also felt the loss of the shape-shifting musician. Sol Campbell, a British footballer, called Bowie, who was born in Brixton in south London in 1947, a “true Londoner,” and boxer Alex Arthur called him an “amazing artist.“ The manager of Arsenal soccer club paid tribute to him:

So did actors Zoe Saldana and Mollie Ringwald, TED chief Chris Anderson, comedians Ricky Gervais and Eddie Izzard, and authors Irvine Welsh and JK Rowling, writer of the Harry Potter books.

Chris Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut who played David Bowie songs from space, said this:

Here he is singing Space Oddity from the International Space Station…

… and here’s one of Bowie’s many fans sharing the original: