The time surrounding David Bowie’s death “has had a profound effect on me and many people I work with,” wrote a British palliative-care physician in an open letter shared by Bowie’s son.
Filmmaker Duncan Jones’ retweet linked to the letter, from Cardiff physician Dr. Mark Taubert, on Twitter on Sunday.
In the letter, Taubert praised Bowie’s final album, “Blackstar,” for its “references, hints and allusions” and “good-bye message” that coincided with the singer’s death at home.
“Many people I talk to as part of my job think that death predominantly happens in hospitals, in very clinical settings, but I presume you chose home and planned this in some detail,” Taubert wrote. “This is one of our aims in palliative care, and your ability to achieve this may mean that others will see it as an option they would like fulfilled. ”
He also mentions a woman who has advanced cancer. Taubert and the woman shared a fondness for Bowie’s music, and she talked about the way she’d like to die.
“We talked about a good death, the dying moments and what these typically look like. And we talked about palliative care and how it can help,” Taubert wrote.
“We both wondered who may have been around you when you took your last breath and whether anyone was holding your hand. I believe this was an aspect of the vision she had of her own dying moments that was of utmost importance to her, and you gave her a way of expressing this most personal longing to me, a relative stranger.”
Bowie died January 10. Jones tweeted the news on social media.
In the aftermath of his death, “Blackstar” hit No. 1 amid the kind of discussion about symbolism Taubert referred to.
Bowie also set a one-day record on Vevo for most views, many driven by the video for his song “Lazarus.”
Taubert’s letter was published in a blog on the British Medical Journal website.