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David Bowie Didn't Know He Was Dying When Recording ‘Blackstar,' According to New Documentary

The album has been seen as a parting gift to fans, but new claims seem to contradict this.

by Lauren O'Neill
Jan 6 2017, 3:13pm

This article originally appeared on Noisey UK.

Since his death early last year, it has been assumed that David Bowie's final album Blackstar, released only two days before he died, was recorded with the intention of being a final gift to his global army of fans.

However, new claims made in the upcoming BBC documentary about the end of Bowie's life, The Last Five Years, seem to contradict this widely-held view. As the Guardian reports, the documentary reveals that Bowie only found out that his illness was terminal three months before his death, and that the concept for the "Lazarus" music video, which sees Bowie as a patient in bed, was actually conceived a week before he received his final diagnosis.

The director of the clip, Johan Renck, comments, "I immediately said 'the song is called Lazarus, you should be in the bed […] To me it had to do with the biblical aspect of it... it had nothing to do with him being ill. I found out later that, the week we were shooting, it was when he was told it was over, they were ending treatments and that his illness had won."

And though the revelation makes what might have seemed intentional now feel sadly ironic, the "Lazarus" video and subsequent Blackstar release gave a fitting end to a career which always managed to find new meaning, and allowed millions of others to do the same.

The Last Five Years will air on Saturday 7 January at 9pm on BBC 2, and will follow shortly on BBC iPlayer.

(Image via YouTube)