Background to David Bowie's last words
David Robert Jones took the stage name David Bowie when he began to perform in the early 1960s. This use of a pseudonym gives a clue to Bowie's personna which, despite his flamboyance on stage, was somewhat thoughtful and reticent in private. He preferred to view himself as a performance artist acting the part of a rock star.
When Bowie learned that he was terminally ill he decided to write and release a final album and, following a period of several years in which he had released and performed very little, Blackstar was released on his 69th birthday, 8 January 2016. The album was intended to be his farewell gift to his fans. He died, two days later.
It could be said that the songs on that album are his final words.
Near to the end of his life he spoke to his long-time friend the British actor Gary Oldman and made an assessment of his life and career. Although they weren't uttered on his deathbed, and what he did say there hasn't been made public, they do sum up a flavour of what Bowie wished to say at the end of his life:
"Music has given me over 40 years of extraordinary experiences. I can’t say that life’s pains or more tragic episodes have been diminished because of it, but it has allowed me so many moments of companionship when I have been lonely and sublime means of communications when I have wanted to touch people. It has been my doorway of perception and the house that I live in.'"