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Tribute to a Starman: David Bowie Mourned by Astronauts, Scientists

Astronauts, scientists and members of the spaceflight industry are joining people all over the world in mourning the death of music icon David Bowie, who passed away Sunday (Jan. 10) after a battle with cancer.

Tributes to the late artist have been flooding Twitter today (Jan. 11). Former astronaut Chris Hadfield wrote, "Ashes to ashes, dust to stardust. Your brilliance inspired us all. Goodbye Starman." Hadfield gained Internet fame when he released a video in which he performed Bowie's song "Space Oddity" (just one of the artist's astro-themed ballads) while living on the International Space Station (ISS).

Brian May, a guitarist for the band Queen who later became an astrophysicist, expressed shock and sadness at Bowie's seemingly sudden passing.

"I don't know if I can react immediately. He was a fearsome talent, and the loss to Music and Culture from his passing is inestimable. In and out of our lives, always challenging and innovative, and … shocking. But this news is hard to take in," May wrote on his personal website. He closed his statement by saying, "Very sad. Sincere condolences to his family. But what a life. All hail, David Bowie, Star Man, Hero. RIP."

Neil deGrasse Tyson also mourned the singer's passing. 

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The official NASA Twitter account tweeted, "'And the stars look very different today.' RIP David Bowie." The quote is a line from Bowie's song "Space Oddity," which is sung from the perspective of an astronaut on a journey into space, and captures the fragility of human life in the cosmos.

Others who paid their respects on Twitter include NASA astronaut Douglas H. Wheelock, Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and British astronaut Tim Peake, who is currently onboard the ISS as part of Expedition 46.

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A musician, artist, actor and music producer, Bowie released his first full-length album in 1967. His 1972 album, "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars," sold more than 1 million copies in the United Kingdom, and more than 500,000 copies in the United States. Bowie wrote various space-related songs, including "Space Oddity," "Life on Mars?" "Starman," and "Dancing Out in Space." He was also a producer and backup vocalist on Lou Reed's "Satellite of Love." We've rounded up more of Bowie's space songs in this Spotify playlist.

On Friday (Jan. 8), just days before his death, Bowie released a new full-length album titled "Blackstar."

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Calla Cofield