I don't usually care much about celebrity deaths unless they're 27 or something, but this one has indeed been a constant in my life. I've been a fan since the early eighties (give or take a few years when he lost me around '85). Unlike other fans I know, I wasn't really into a particular sound he had at a given point in time, nor into the costumes and personas he kept slipping into. I liked the fact that he was always a few steps ahead of expectations, always a little ... off even when he was at his most commercial, and even though some of his albums were total duds rather than masterpieces, they were always a challenge.
That's certainly something to live up to in any creative field.