It’s been one year since David Bowie died, and while the world continues to remember his life, those who knew him personally are still trying to process the loss. In a new note to fans, Bowie’s longtime producer Tony Visconti has shed more light on how he learned his dear friend had passed. Visconti had been playing Bowie tribute shows with his band Holy Holy at the time: “I was sound asleep in a hotel room in Toronto when my phone lit up around 2 a.m. with texts every second. The messages were more or less the same thing – ‘David Bowie has died,’ something I had been dreading for a year. Strangely, I said to myself, ‘Oh God’ and fell back to sleep.” Visconti had known Bowie was terminally ill, but the rest of his band mates didn’t and woke him up shortly after to comfort him. “The shock was obviously greater to them,” he remembers, though Visconti was happy to have them near. “Looking back a year I realize I was so fortunate I was with my band when the news broke. If I was on my own I would have been totally devastated,” he writes.
Visconti, who previously referred to Bowie’s death as a “work of art,” says every day since his passing has been difficult to endure. “Grief is a very real thing. There is no control over it. I have been on an emotional roller coaster all year and I know most of you have been too. I talk to David in my head all the time,” he writes. “It’s still very hard to come to terms with. In the last year of his life he was so vibrant and creative.” And though Visconti’s experienced anger, ultimately he says he’s happy to have known a part of the Starman not shared with the rest of the world: “We are fortunate to have lived in the same time as him. We’ve seen him, we’ve heard him sing and speak, we’ve hugged him, we’ve worshipped him and we are constantly reminded of him daily. He was a legend in his lifetime and he will be a legend until the end of time. But he was my friend too. I miss him dearly.”