Gary Oldman talks of David Bowie’s ‘dignity’ in cancer battle at Brit Awards 2016

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The actor collected the posthumous Icon award at tonight's ceremony (February 24)

Actor Gary Oldman has spoken of David Bowie‘s “dignity” in his battle with cancer at tonight’s Brit Awards (February 24).

Bowie, who passed away on January 10 following an 18-month struggle with the disease, was awarded a posthumous Icon award at the ceremony, which took place at London’s O2 Arena.

Annie Lennox began the tribute, saying: “For me, it’s almost impossible to mention Bowie’s name in the past tense. Everything he represented as an artist always was and will be incredibly present. As a cutting edge, artistic genius, he continues to live on through his music.”

Oldman then took to the stage to collect the award on the late star’s behalf. He spoke of his friend’s attitude in his final days, saying “His outlook was always positive and I never heard him complain.”

He continued: “He faced his illness with enormous courage, dignity, grace and customary humor – even in dire circumstances. When he wrote to tell me the bad news, he added, ‘The good news is I’ve got my cheekbones back.'”

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Oldman was a close personal friend of Bowie’s and he also talked of the artist’s music during his tribute. “In recent years, David sparingly spoke about music and his process; but in one of these rare instances, he graciously and elegantly expounded,” he said before quoting his friend.

“‘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.'”

He added: “Over his career, David challenged and changed our understanding of the medium, whether in music or life, he emphasized originality, experimentation, exploration, and in his very unique way, he also reminded us to never take ourselves too seriously.”

Watch footage of Lennox and Oldman’s speeches at Consequence Of Sound.