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Fans pay tribute to 'eternal' Bowie on death anniversary
A woman tapes a David Bowie picture on a wall outside of his SoHo apartment building on the first anniversary of Bowie's death on January 10, 2017 in New York City. ANGELA WEISS / AFP.

by Jacques Klopp

LONDON (AFP).- Fans paid emotional tributes to late rock legend David Bowie on Tuesday, the first anniversary of his death.

A blonde girl wept as her friend drew a heart with lipstick on a Bowie mural in his native neighbourhood of Brixton in south London, where thousands gathered a year ago to sing, dance and cry for their hero.

"Gone but never forgotten", "All the days of my life I owe you" and "RIP David my hero my idol" read some of the emotional inscriptions scrawled on the wall.

"He changed the face of music," said Roger Rowley, an actor and musician who travelled down from Leeds in northern England to attend a vigil by the mural along with dozens of other fans.

"I've learnt more from Bowie as an artist as from anyone else. He's eternal," he said.

Rowley's partner Rachael Gilliband, a mediaeval historian, said: "He challenged gender norms and expectations. He was absolutely wonderful!"

The vigil was one of several memorial events including concerts and film showings held in London and New York, where the star died on January 10, 2016 after an undisclosed battle with cancer.

Three new songs written for the musical Lazarus -- "No Plan", "Killing a Little Time" and "When I Met You" -- were also released at the weekend to mark what would have been Bowie's 70th birthday on Sunday.

They are believed to be Bowie's final recordings.

Thousands attended a charity concert at the Brixton Academy on Sunday where actor Gary Oldman, a close friend of Bowie's, was joined by Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliot, Keane's Tom Chaplin and Simon Le Bon.

"There have been so many wonderful tributes. It's wonderful to see," said Rowley, as fans lit candles and left bouquets of flowers and cards.

Some were seen wearing the "Ziggy Stardust" make-up.

'Virtual intimacy'
Rowley said he had listened to Bowie's final album "Blackstar" -- released on his birthday a year ago -- four times.

"I haven't listened to it without crying yet," he said.

Victoria Wiet, a 26-year-old graduate student, said she was in Britain to give a presentation at a conference in honour of Bowie.

"The way that his music introduced itself in everyday life creates a sense of virtual intimacy," she said.

"I couldn't believe it when I heard the news on Facebook. I was shocked".

She said she had been fan since the age of 13 and had been listening to Bowie constantly for the past year.

"I wanted to witness this collective mourning," she said.

© 1994-2017 Agence France-Presse

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