Bowie asked for ashes to be scattered in Bali

In his will, David Bowie wanted his body cremated according to Bali's Buddhist rituals.
In his will, David Bowie wanted his body cremated according to Bali's Buddhist rituals.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK • In the 1980s, David Bowie and Iggy Pop holidayed in Bali, Indonesia. The place made an impression on Bowie: He directed that his body be cremated and his ashes scattered there, according to his will.

The 20-page will, prepared in 2004, was filed in Surrogate's Court in Manhattan, New York, on Friday. It said Bowie's estate was worth as much as US$100 million (S$142 million), but it contained no breakdown of his holdings.

Bowie died on Jan 10, two days after his 69th birthday, following an 18-month battle with cancer that he revealed only to a select few.

He said in the will that he wanted his body shipped to Bali and cremated there "in accordance with the Buddhist rituals of Bali".

But he added that if cremation in Bali was not possible, he wanted his ashes scattered there nevertheless. His death certificate, filed with the will, said his body was cremated in New Jersey, in north-eastern US, on Jan 12.

Bali, which is predominantly Hindu, is renowned for its unique musical and artistic culture and as a retreat for spirituality seekers. Bowie was so taken with it that he had an Indonesian-style refuge built on Mustique, in the Caribbean.

He is believed to have spent time in Bali as well as other parts of Indonesia. His song, Tumble And Twirl, notably starts with the lines, "I've seen the city / And I took the next flight for Borneo / They say it's pretty".

The Jakarta Post, in an article after Bowie's death, found a photo of the rocker dressed in an Indonesian sarong and said he made Indonesian versions of several of his songs.

His family has kept his wishes for discretion over his death and final rites, saying only that loved ones would hold a private ceremony.

Bowie left around half of his fortune to his widow, the Somali-born supermodel Iman, along with their home in New York's Soho district. His two children, film-maker Duncan Jones and his teenage daughter, Alexandria Zahra Jones, are splitting most of the rest.

Bowie died two days after releasing his final album, Blackstar, which in retrospect was an intricate artistic statement on the career of one of the most influential artists in rock history.

Over a nearly half-century career, Bowie pioneered glam rock and pursued soul, electronica, New Wave pop and jazz. He was also a major force in fashion, theatre and art.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 31, 2016, with the headline 'Bowie asked for ashes to be scattered in Bali'. Print Edition | Subscribe