Many have expressed dismay at the suddenness of David Bowie's passing, and it appears to have taken him by surprise, as well. In fact, Bowie called his longtime producer Tony Visconti during the week before his death on Sunday (Dec. 10) to discuss work on a follow up to Blackstar.

Instead, Bowie succumbed to cancer just two days after the album arrived, and has now reportedly been cremated in a private ceremony without any friends and family. He wanted "to go without any fuss," a source says.

Visconti says the very private Bowie had known since last November that his cancer was terminal, but had no idea the end was so near. Those final few weeks found Bowie writing and trying out demos for five new songs. "At that late stage, he was planning the follow-up to Blackstar," Visconti tells Rolling Stone. "And I was thrilled. I thought, and he thought, that he'd have a few months, at least."

In the end, Visconti – like Bowie fans everywhere – can only wonder at what might have been, had he lived. "Obviously, if he's excited about doing his next album, he must've thought he had a few more months," Visconti said. "So, the end must've been very rapid. I'm not privy to it. I don't know exactly, but he must've taken ill very quickly after that phone call."

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