The singer posthumously hit a major musical milestone one week after his death, as his new album ★ (pronounced Blackstar) hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 U.S. charts. This is a first for the singer, who released 29 studio albums during his legendary career. Released just two days before the eccentric rock star lost his 18-month battle with cancer, ★ sold 181,000 copies in its debut week.
Bowie’s greatest hits compilation, Best of Bowie, also saw a spike in sales following the singer’s death at 69. The album finished the week at No. 4, making Bowie the first artist to chart two albums in Billboard’s top four since Adele’s 19 and 21 in February 2012.
The rock star also dethroned Adele on Vevo, breaking her previous record for most video views by an artist in a single day. And it wasn’t even close. While “Hello” garnered the British songstress 36 million views when it premiered on Oct. 23, Bowie’s catalog drew 51 million views on Jan. 11, following the icon’s death.
As the world continues to remember Bowie, his son, Moon director Duncan Jones, broke his social media silence to retweet a special story from a palliative care doctor, who shared a personal and professional word of thanks on the singer’s career and end-of-life medical journey.
“Whilst realization of your death was sinking in during those grey, cold January days of 2016, many of us went on with our day jobs,” wrote Dr. Mark Taubert, a palliative care consultant in the U.K. “At the beginning of that week I had a discussion with a hospital patient, facing the end of her life. 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.”
Taubert went on to thank the musician for his musical career, as well as the references to his cancer and end-of-life care that the doctor saw alluded to in Bowie’s final works. He wrote that palliative specialists like himself can use the rock star’s story to “communicate very openly about death, something many doctors and nurses struggle to introduce as a topic of conversation.”
“She too, had memories of places and events for which you provided an idiosyncratic soundtrack,” Taubert said of his patient. “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. Thank you.”