Here's Who Inherited David Bowie's Fortune After He Died

David Bowie (born David Jones) died of liver cancer on January 10, 2016, at the age of 69, The Guardian reported. His death marked an indescribably deep loss for the music world, considering the profound influence he left on rock 'n' roll in the decades prior — not just musically but also visually. Beyond his music, Bowie often tried his hand at acting, painting, and even the emerging (at the time) internet industry, according to a companion report in The Guardian

He also pioneered a financial situation called "Bowie Bonds," in which he got some investors to go in on 10-year-bonds banking on future sales of his music catalog that was released before 1993, according to Ultimate Classic Rock. Since many of his songs have stood the test of time and airplay, the investments paid off, earning Bowie a steady stream of income even in the years when he stepped out of the spotlight after his 2003 heart attack.

When he died, Bowie left a staggering amount of money to his heirs. But just how much is a matter of dispute; Celebrity Net Worth and TheRichest estimate that his net worth is in the neighborhood of $230 million, while Forbes offers a much more reasonable (and still staggering) number of about $100 million. And in his will, Bowie provided generously for his wife, two children, and a couple of other people whom he loved dearly.

David Bowie left half of his estate to his wife, Iman

According to Somerset Live, David Bowie left approximately half of his estate — whether it was $230 million or $100 million or something else entirely — to his wife, Somali-American fashion designer, Iman. Bowie married Iman in 1992, and she has since said she will never remarry because Bowie was her "true love," Republic World reported.

Vice reported that Bowie and Iman shared a chemistry and passion for each other that never faded. And during the years after his heart attack when he was laying low, it was largely because he was enjoying life as a family man — spending time with his young daughter and wife doing the regular things like watching TV and making crafts. After decades of the rock star life and various transformations, Bowie finally found contentment. According to Vice, he said in 2003, "I don't have that sense of loneliness that I had before, which was very, very strong."

David Bowie split most of the rest of his estate between his two kids

The lion's share of the remaining half of David Bowie's estate was split equally between his two children. The youngest is Alexandria Zahra Jones, who was born to Bowie and Iman in 2000, according to E! Online. In addition to her multi-million-dollar cash inheritance, she also received a home in Upstate New York. Not a bad start for a now-21-year-old. Iman also had a child from a previous marriage, but Bowie didn't leave a chunk of money to his step-child, per Somerset Live.

Bowie's oldest child, who also received a quarter share of the estate, is Duncan "Zowie Bowie" Jones. According to the Daily Mail, he was born in 1971 to Bowie and his first wife, Mary Angela Barnett, or Angie Bowie. The British newspaper notes that the elder Bowie and his wife were bedeviled by substance abuse issues at the time, often disappearing on days-long binges and leaving Duncan in the care of an employee. According to Celebrity Net Worth, when the couple divorced, it was Bowie who got custody of his son.

Bowie also left a comparatively small (yet still significant) amount of money to a couple of other people who were important to him. His assistant, who the BBC reported had worked for him and been his confidante for 42 years, received $2 million, while a former nanny received $1 million, per Celebrity Net Worth

David Bowie wanted his ashes scattered in Bali

David Bowie learned he had liver cancer 18 months before he died, and he kept his illness secret from the public as he underwent treatment, The Guardian reported. In the last months of his life, he kept working and producing his art — an off-Broadway musical called "Lazarus" and his 25th album, "Blackstar," per BBC. As reported by Rolling Stone, the latter was released two days before he died, and many consider his parting gift to the world, even as Bowie only found out his cancer was terminal three months before he died. Still, he had to have known death from the disease was a possibility.

According to The New York Times, while Bowie left his fortune to his most beloved family and friends, he wanted his body to be cremated in Bali and his ashes scattered there "in accordance with the Buddhist rituals of Bali." Atlas Obscura described the "Ngaben" as a nearly two-week-long death ritual that combines "celebration with sorrow." The goal is to help the spirit move on from its earthly form to either reincarnate or rest eternally in what is called "Moksha." 

The New York Times reported Bowie was cremated in New Jersey, and it's unclear if the ashes ever made it to Bali. But in 2017, his son Duncan denied rumors that Bowie's ashes were scattered at a Burning Man Festival and said that the whereabouts of Bowie's ashes were being kept secret.