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I am writing this piece on a bus heading down to New York City to start the work week. Around 5:45am ET, I read the news that music legend David Bowie had died at 69 years old, after battling cancer for 18 months. There are few rock artists who have been able to transcend cultures to become global icons. Bowie was one of them.

As I started playing The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust to remind myself on this long bus ride just how amazing Bowie’s music is, I started witnessing one very beautiful moment: all these Bowie tributes coming from my Facebook friends, the vast majority of whom are Latino.

So I asked my Facebook friends, “A lot of Latinos loved Bowie, just based on my Facebook feed right now. Anyone care to venture why?”

Here is just a sampling of what they said:

Guillermo

A lot of Latinos have great taste. My experience growing up in a Anglo-Argentine/Paraguayan household was that it was unavoidable; he was brilliant and a lot of us who were musicians consumed his work. Even with the bit of Anglophilia in South America, his overall legacy is appealing because he created a landscape that allowed for the farthest reaches of oneself, he was like a lighthouse to our better self. It’s dark now.

Marcela

David Bowie continually morphed into different modes of creativity throughout his existence. Love him a rebel at heart…. a salute to the human spirit of not conforming to the status quo.

Carlos

For me, it was when I first heard Let’s Dance. I was a freshman in high school. It was 1983. Pop music was surging and MTV was captivating. Let’s Dance was on heavy rotation on both radio and video channels. Then, after the infectious Modern Love, I hit the record store (remember those?) and discovered his library. I was hooked.

Ray

He was an outlier; an outsider in the mainstream; hope for those of us who are also seen as different.

Suset

I came to him later in life. His music was/is magnetic, edgy, provocative. He was thoughtful and not afraid of being so.

Ruben

He was different, bizarre, he could sing, he was constantly changing, hair was every color in the palette—exactly what I needed growing up in a small Arizona mining town.

Alan

If you grow up outside here,you grow up listening more music from the UK and Europe in general than just from here.

Manny

Yo me crié en su música. La verdad que se murió un genio./I grew up with his music. The truth is that a genius just died.

Then there is this photo shared by actor and friend Esai Morales, which summed it up beautifully:

Singing harmony w David Bowie in the back office of the China Club in the late 80’s was a highlight of my life. The icon was the sweetest soul with an amazing voice who will be terribly missed… 🙁
photo. Dominick Conde (China Club)

Esai

My own thoughts?

Bowie was universal. He pushed the envelope and never settled. It’s no wonder everyone loved him and will love him forever:

And, oh yeah, he also created one of my all-time favorite songs ever:

Now you know.

Featured image: David Bowie, 2002 (Photo by Adam Bielawski/Creative Commons)