Private ceremony planned for David Bowie, family says

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[January 15, 2016]  (Reuters) - David Bowie will be remembered in a private ceremony, his family said on Thursday, thanking fans for their support after the British rock star's death from cancer on Sunday but repeating requests for privacy.

The statement on Bowie's official Facebook page followed British media reports that the 69 year-old "Space Oddity" singer has already been cremated quietly in New York without his friends or family in attendance. Reuters could not confirm the reports and Bowie's representatives did not return requests for comment.

"The family of David Bowie is currently making arrangements for a private ceremony celebrating the memory of their beloved husband, father and friend," the family's statement said. It was dated from England but gave no details about where or when the ceremony might take place.

"They ask once again that their privacy be respected at this most sensitive of times. We are overwhelmed by and grateful for the love and support shown throughout the world."

Bowie's death after a secret 18-month battle with cancer and two days after releasing a new album caused shock and dismay around the world and sent sales soaring of both his old and new music.

The album "Blackstar," now seen as Bowie's self-styled epitaph, is expected to top music charts in Britain and the United States next week.

U.S. Sales of "Blackstar" increased 1,055 percent once the news broke of his death, according to Nielsen.

Radio airplay increased 1,134 percent from Sunday to Monday, at Nielsen Music-monitored U.S. terrestrial radio stations, it added.

While fans and commercial enterprises have planned tributes and concerts for Bowie, including one in New York's Carnegie Hall in March, his family said on Thursday that "none are official memorials organized or endorsed by the family."

"Just as each and every one of us found something unique in David's music, we welcome everyone’s celebration of his life as they see fit," the statement added.

Bowie is survived by his model wife Iman of 24 years, adult son Duncan Jones and teenage daughter Alexandria.

(Reporting By Jill Serjeant; editing by Grant McCool)

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