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David Bowie's son Duncan Jones retweets palliative doctor's open letter to late singer

By Marilyn Malara
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Flowers are piled around a portrait in tribute to British singer David Bowie at his place of birth in Brixton in London on Tuesday. David Bowie died Jan. 10, after an 18-month battle with cancer. Photo by Rune Hellestad/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/58b1af29001559d8196e514ba1fa2b47/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Flowers are piled around a portrait in tribute to British singer David Bowie at his place of birth in Brixton in London on Tuesday. David Bowie died Jan. 10, after an 18-month battle with cancer. Photo by Rune Hellestad/UPI | License Photo

CARDIFF, Wales, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- A Welsh palliative care doctor -- focused on providing relief from symptoms associated with serious illnesses such as cancer -- says the story of David Bowie's death has opened a new avenue of discussion with his patients.

Bowie's son, 44-year-old Duncan Jones, retweeted the link to an open letter shared by Marie Curie over the weekend, days after announcing he would be "offline for a while" following his father's death on Jan. 10.

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In the open letter directed to the late pop star published in the blog section of the British Medical Journal's website Friday, Dr. Mark Taubert first thanked Bowie for providing the soundtrack to years of happy memories before delving into the topic of death.

"For me, the fact that your gentle death at home coincided so closely with the release of your album [Blackstar], with its goodbye message, in my mind is unlikely to be a coincidence," Taubert wrote.

"All of this was carefully planned, to become a work of death art. The video for 'Lazarus' is very deep and many of the scenes will mean different things to us all; for me it is about dealing with the past when you are faced with inevitable death."

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Taubert continued on to detail a specific conversation with a hospital patient who finds comfort in David Bowie's example of dying in the comfort of his home, especially since hearing news she has advanced cancer.

"We discussed your death and your music, and it got us talking about numerous weighty subjects, that are not always straightforward to discuss with someone facing their own demise," the doctor wrote. "In fact, your story became a way for us to communicate very openly about death ...

"And then 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 ... 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 important to her, and you have her a way of expressing this most personal longing to me, a relative stranger ... Thank you," Taubert concluded.

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