Tony Visconti cries as he remembers David Bowie's cancer news

David Bowie credit:Bang Showbiz
David Bowie credit:Bang Showbiz

Tony Visconti cried as he recalled the late David Bowie telling him he had cancer.

The veteran producer was working with the 'Let's Dance' hitmaker - who lost an 18-month battle with liver cancer in January 2016 - on his final album 'Blackstar' when the legendary singer took off his hat to reveal some of the side effects of his treatments.

Speaking at a lunch commemorating Bowie's 75th birthday last week, Tony told the group: “He had no eyebrows and was completely bald, and so we immediately knew what had been happening. He sat us down and told us he had been undergoing chemotherapy.”

Writer Dylan Jones, who was among the guests at the private event, noted in the Sunday Times Culture magazine: "At this point Visconti started to cry, which I think for all of us was rather cathartic. Here we all were, celebrating the long and illustrious life of someone who had meant so much to us all, while perhaps ignoring the fact he was no longer actually with us.

"This was when lunch suddenly turned into a wake, a celebration of a life lived, but also of a life lost. What I kept returning to, time and time again, was Bowie’s importance to the culture. For my generation he had been as important as Picasso had been to another."

Both broadcaster Jonathan Ross and singer Boy George lamented missed opportunities with the 'Heroes' singer.

Jonathan recalled how he had been invited to attend a rehearsal and rejected the chance to meet his idol because he was keen to land him as a guest on his talk show and thought it would make for a better interview if they hadn't met beforehand.

He lamented: “I wanted the first time I met him to be on my chat show. That way it was going to be even more real."

The Culture Club singer was working as "the coat-check girl" at infamous nightclub Blitz when Bowie came in looking for extras for his 'Ashes to Ashes' video.

George said: “I saw Bowie come through the door and like everyone else I was completely thrown. Everyone else followed him upstairs to the seated area, but there’s no way I was going to be so uncool. So I didn’t, which is probably why I wasn’t asked to be in his video.”

Other guests at the lunch included Nile Rodgers, Bob Geldof, Daphne Guinness, and Goldie.