David Bowie died after an 18-month battle with cancer on Sunday, but not before delivering fans one last “parting gift.”
The legendary rock icon released his 25th album, Blackstar, on his 69th birthday Friday, just two days before his death. While Bowie’s passing might have come suddenly for his fans, the music video for the song “Lazarus” makes it apparent that Major Tom knew he was near his end.
Lying in a hospital bed, frail and pale, Bowie opens the haunting video for “Lazarus” with the lyrics: “Look up here, I’m in Heaven, I’ve got scars that can’t be seen, I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen, everybody knows me now.”
In the final verse, Bowie sings, “Oh I’ll be free, just like that bluebird. Oh I’ll be free, ain’t that just like me.”
At the end of the video, he retreats to an armoire and closes the door.
Watch the video below:
Tony Visconti, a producer who has worked with the singer since 1969, called Blackstar Bowie’s “parting gift.”
“He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was no different from his life – a work of Art,” Visconti wrote on Facebook early Monday.
“He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn’t, however, prepared for it. He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us. For now, it is appropriate to cry,” Visconti wrote.
As UK Independent notes, the title of Lazarus refers to the biblical character Lazarus, who was brought back to life four days after his burial, as one of Jesus’s most prominent miracles in the Book of John.
The term is often used in pop culture to signify the restoration of life.
Jesus told his followers, “This sickness will not end in death… it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.”
The paper’s Jess Denham writes, “Bowie could easily be describing himself as Lazarus, knowing that his musical legacy will transcend his death.”
Backstair is currently at no. 1 on the iTunes chart in the U.K. and no. 2 in the U.S.
The album was recorded over a three-month period at the beginning of 2015.