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David Bowie only learned his cancer was terminal three months before he died

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Emmy Griffiths
Emmy GriffithsTV & Film Editor
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Music icon David Bowie found out that his liver cancer was terminal just three months before he died, it has emerged.

In upcoming documentary David Bowie: The Last Five Years, which looks at the last few years of the singer's life, the director of the music video for Blackstar Johan Renck opened up about the star finding out that his illness could no longer be treated. The pair were filming what would be David's last ever music video at the time when the Life on Mars singer received the tragic news. "The week we were shooting is when he found out that it is over," Johan said. "We'll end treatment or whatever that means, that his illness has won." He went on to speak about the music video, and claimed the decision to put bandages over David's eyes had nothing to do with his illness, but because "I liked the imagery of it".

David Bowie - Blackstar (Video)

At the time of the rock star's death, his producer and close friend Tony Visconti also spoke about his final album, writing on Facebook: "His death was no different from his life . . . a work of art. He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift… He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us. For now, it is appropriate to cry."

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David passed away aged 69

The documentary, which airs on 7 January on BBC Two at 9pm, will include never-before-seen footage of the star, including early interviews where David speaks about fame. In the interview, he explains why he had always to be famous. "It's more than being a star," he said. "I'm not content to just be a rock ‘n’ roll star all my life. I am trying to be one at the moment because I need it at the moment for a particular reason so I can get off and do other things. What it is really is that I want to be productive."