David Bowie's final album 'Blackstar' took on a new poignancy when the icon died just days after its release, coupled with the revelation that he had been battling cancer throughout its creation.

Most people assumed that he was aware of his impending death when the writing process for the album began, but a new documentary claims that this is not necessarily true - and that he only found out the cancer was terminal three months before he died.

'David Bowie: The Last 5 Years', which will air on BBC 2 on Saturday - what would have been Bowie's 70th birthday - sees the director of the 'Lazarus' video describe how the much-talked about symbolism of his final video was nothing to do with his illness.

Johan Renck said: "David said: ‘I just want to make it a simple performance video’. I immediately said ‘the song is called Lazarus, you should be in the bed’. To me it had to do with the biblical aspect of it… it had nothing to do with him being ill.”

He added: "I found out later that, the week we were shooting, it was when he was told it was over, they were ending treatments and that his illness had won."

Renck's claims tally with other comments made in the documentary about Bowie's willingness to continue working, including the director of stage show 'Lazarus', Ivo Van Hove, who said: "He got through the [opening] night. I really am convinced that he was fighting death and he wanted to continue and continue. Afterwards we were sitting behind stage and he said ‘let’s start a second one now, the sequel to Lazarus’.”

Via The Guardian