SOUNDGARDEN singer Chris Cornell has paid tribute to David Bowie, who died on Sunday, two days after his 69th birthday. Cornell told RollingStone.com, in part: "When I woke up [on Monday], I was already thinking about David Bowie. I was checking out his new record a couple of days ago; I was reading about it, I'd listened to a few songs. Then I saw the news. Hearing he'd died was just a really sad thing.
"I was very happy with 'Blackstar'. I was really happy with his last album, 'The Next Day', too. Both albums show an ongoing evolution.
"I need people like David Bowie, people who are always moving on and not in a frustrating or slovenly way. It encourages me because I want to be able to write music and create albums until I drop dead.
"I'd heard about him being ill over the last couple of years, so it wasn't a huge surprise, but just reading about his album a couple of days ago, I'd been thinking, 'Oh, he's better. He's fine.' It was sad to feel like that's not going to happen and we're not gonna see him again.
"You don't know how important someone is to you as an artistic influence until suddenly they're gone. I've certainly been having that experience. It's kind of equal parts sad and celebratory to think, 'Awesome. What an amazing career he had and what an amazing legacy he's left for everybody.'"
According to reports from insiders in the David Bowie camp, the music legend died from liver cancer, after suffering from a handful heart attacks in recent years.
Bowie died on January 10 following a private 18-month battle against the disease. Stage director Ivo van Hove, who had been working with Bowie on his musical "Lazurus" — which is running in Manhattan's New York Theatre Workshop through January 17 — revealed to The Independent that he knew Bowie was ill for "about a year."
Bowie biographer Wendy Leigh went on to tell the BBC that musician's recent health woes were actually quite extensive. "He didn't just battle cancer," she said. "He had six heart attacks in recent years. I got this from somebody very close to him."