The news of David Bowie’s death sent shock-waves not just throughout the social media world but the traditional press as well. The iconic artist, who succumbed to cancer at age 69 on Jan. 10, made the front pages around the globe and in many languages.
In his homeland, Bowie dominated the headlines, his image appearing on the front page of every daily newspaper. The Daily Telegraph and tabloids The Mirror and Daily Star illustrated their daily editions with Aladdin Sane-era photographs. “…And the stars look very different today… The world mourns a legend,” announced The Mirror. The Daily Mail declared, “Bowie, starman, still dazzling the world even in death.”
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) January 11, 2016
Berlin’s Die Welt declared: “There can only be one Bowie. What remains is his music.” The newspaper wrote fawningly of his musical experience in the city in the 1970s, noting that “He is part of the cultural heritage of Berlin.”
Munich’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung remembered Bowie as a “provocateur of pop, artistic chameleon” who had “the mastery of a quick-change-artist.”
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported Bowie’s death with the headline: “He extinguished fire with petrol.”
Der Standard in Vienna, Austria described Bowie as “The man who reached for the stars. The greatest pop star of all time. A multi-talented artist who created over decades albums and hits.”
The Italian edition of L’Osservatore Romano, the official publication of the Vatican, featured coverage of Bowie’s life and work, although the articles contained a more critical view of some aspects of Bowie’s personal life — those that don’t correspond with the church’s beliefs.
Tages-Anzeiger from Zurich, Switzerland featured a photo of the Bowie mural which now adorns the Morley’s building in Brixton, South London alongside a piece which describes the Brit as a “visionary artist, multitalented, a master of re-invention.” Bowie was accepted by an entire generation from teenage to adulthood, the newspaper notes.
The Guardian front page, Tuesday 12 January 2016: David Bowie 1947-2016 pic.twitter.com/jZqpfu1RPP
— The Guardian (@guardian) January 11, 2016
Paris-based Le Monde enthused, “David Bowie is extraterrestrial. He is also the incarnation of a ‘British dandy’.” The French daily focused on Bowie’s financial dealings and embrace of technology.
From Liechtenstein’s The Volksblatt to Milan’s Corriere della Sera, articles remembered “The White Duke with a thousand faces,” some accompanied by a series of drawings by British illustrator Helen Green that have since gone viral.
In other English-speaking countries like Australia, Bowie’s death was also noted on the front pages of the leading newspapers. Bowie held a long affection with the country and filmed several of his iconic videos in the land down under — among them, “Let’s Dance” and “China Girl.”
David Bowie’s influence on music: the better question might be who did he not influence. pic.twitter.com/6xKXX7TzXO
— smh.com.au (@smh) January 11, 2016
Writing for the Sydney Morning Herald, Bernard Zuel described Bowie as one of the “great figures of modern music” and recalled his wider impact on the music business. “It was often said that David Bowie remade himself constantly to keep fresh in the music industry but the truth is he remade the music industry constantly.”
Brisbane’s Courier-Mail, which devoted six pages of coverage, ran with the headline, “Planet Earth is blue, world mourns icon who changed the face of music.”
Additional reporting by Maximilian Brändle.