David Bowie didn’t know he was dying when recording ‘Blackstar’, says new documentary

Revelation comes from new BBC 2 documentary 'David Bowie: The Last Five Years'

David Bowie didn’t know he was dying when he recorded his final album ‘Blackstar’, according to a new documentary about the late music icon’s final years.

David Bowie: The Last Five Years will air on BBC 2 this Saturday (January 7), a day before what would have been the singer’s 70th birthday and just under a year following his passing.

The Guardian reports that in the documentary it is claimed by ‘Lazarus’ video director Johan Renck that Bowie only discovered his cancer had become terminal when he was in the middle of filming the clip in November 2015.


“David said: ‘I just want to make it a simple performance video’,” Renck recalls in the documentary. “I immediately said ‘the song is called Lazarus, you should be in the bed’. To me it had to do with the biblical aspect of it… it had nothing to do with him being ill.”

Renck continues: “I found out later that, the week we were shooting, it was when he was told it was over, they were ending treatments and that his illness had won”.

Bowie’s final album ‘Blackstar’, recorded early in 2015, is widely regarded as a “parting gift” to fans, but these new claims contradict this intent.

Meanwhile, a special tribute concert to David Bowie is set to take place at Brixton Academy to mark his birthday this weekend, featuring friend and actor Gary Oldman along with over 30 musicians that collaborated with Bowie throughout his career.