Chris Hadfield expresses disbelief over death of David Bowie

Former astronaut performed star’s song ‘Space Oddity’ in space

Former astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield has said he was "disbelieving and sad" when he heard the news of David Bowie's death.

Cmdr Hadfield's version of Space Oddity, which he performed in space, has been viewed almost 30 million times on YouTube. It was recorded while he was on board the International Space Station (ISS) in 2013.

Cmdr Hadfield expressed regret that he never had the chance to meet Bowie though the two corresponded regularly b y email.

Hadfield released Space Session: Songs From a Tin Can which he recorded in space during the autumn.


Bowie congratulated Hadfield on the release of the album which included his version of Space Oddity.

“You could see the smile on his face even through his emails. He was delighted to see his creation brought to where he never thought it would go and brought up to date.”

"He was an extremely famous person and an intensely private person," Hadfield told 2FM's Breakfast Republic programme. "He was so productive in the last years of his life, it is hard to believe his last album, Blackstar, was released just a couple of days before the cancer killed him.

"In the weeks over the Christmas holidays, I had watched the special he had done with Bing Crosby and I had also watched Lazarus (the video) off his new album. It really made me think about his whole life and how creative he had been. It was doubly shocking to hear of his death."

The original inspiration for Hadfield's version of Space Oddity came from the astronaut's son Evan.

Hadfield told The Irish Times in 2013: "I did it originally just as a favour for him. People were asking me from all over the world, but he was absolutely insistent that I do it. He goaded me into it. It came out so much better than I thought it would do. It came up beautiful. It is a real tribute to David Bowie. He wrote that in the late 1960s before we even walked on the Moon. Yet he somehow got the feel of space so when you sang it there, it meant something. That is a pretty good measure of him."

Hadfield endeared himself to people in Ireland when he tweeted from space in February 2013: "Tá Éire fíorálainn! Land of green hills and dark beer. With Dublin glowing in the Irish night."

He duetted with The Chieftains from space and sang Danny Boy on St Patrick's Day.

He also took on an unpaid role as a tourism ambassador for Tourism Ireland making a number of videos to promote the country.

An Evening with Chris Hadfield takes place in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin on January 24th at 3pm and 8pm.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times