Avicii, top electronic dance music artist, found dead at 28

Swedish DJ Avicii, one of the world’s biggest dance music stars, has died in Oman at the age of 28.

Avicii’s club anthems include Wake Me Up, Levels, and recently, Lonely Together with Rita Ora.

His representative said in a statement: “It is with profound sorrow that we announce the loss of Tim Bergling, also known as Avicii.

“The family is devastated and we ask everyone to please respect their need for privacy in this difficult time.”

No cause of death was announced, and Avicii’s representative said no further statements would be issued.

The electronic dance music (EDM) star, who reportedly made $ 250,000 (£180,000) a night on tour, had struggled with some health issues in the past, having his gall bladder and appendix removed in 2014.

He announced his retirement from touring in 2016, partly because of the health problems.

“I know I am blessed to be able to travel all around the world and perform, but I have too little left for the life of a real person behind the artist,” he said at the time.

Who was Avicii?

  • One of the biggest names in dance music of the last 10 years, he had a catalogue full of pumping, uplifting, house smashes
  • He started his career when he won a production competition held by Pete Tong in 2008
  • He went on to notch up 11 billion streams on Spotify and was the first EDM DJ to stage a worldwide arena tour
  • He was nominated for two Grammy Awards and had nine UK top 10 singles, including two number ones
  • He suffered from health problems including acute pancreatitis, in part due to excessive drinking

He later announced a return to the studio, and released a new self-titled EP in 2017.

The EP, Avĩci (01), was nominated for a Billboard music award for top electronic album just days before his death.

As well as working with the likes of Aloe Blacc and Rita Ora, Avicii collaborated with artists including Madonna and Coldplay.

Former Radio 1 DJ Judge Jules, who often performed alongside him, said his biggest achievement was being the first electronic dance star to break America.

“He was the first huge commercial star,” Judge Jules told the BBC. “He really became someone who couldn’t go out on the street, he was so heavily recognised.”

Other leading electronic artists wrote tributes to Bergling after the news of his death.

Singer Dua Lipa tweeted: “Such sad news to hear about Avicii passing. Too young and way too soon. My condolences go out to his family, friends and fans.”

US band Imagine Dragons tweeted: “Working with him was one of my favourite collaborative moments. Far too young. The world was a happier and fuller place with his presence and art.”

“No words can describe the sadness I’m feeling right now, hearing about Avicii passing away,” offered DJ Zedd, while singer Adam Lambert, who collaborated on the track Lay Me Down, called him “a brilliant composer and a gentle spirit.”

An enchanting artist

Analysis by Mark Savage, BBC Music reporter

At Avicii’s last ever show in August 2016, one crazed fan climbed a 100ft-high (30m) scaffolding tower, just to get a better view.

That’s not something that happens that often during a DJ set (who needs to see the stage anyway?) but it was a testament to Avicii’s ability to enchant an audience.

Confetti cannons and bass drops aside, his shows encapsulated the inclusive, everyone-welcome philosophy that led him to collaborate with Coldplay, Nile Rodgers and Antony Hegarty as well as bluegrass and metal musicians in the studio.

That final show, at Ushuaia Ibiza, was a two-hour greatest hits set, featuring crowd pleasers like Levels and Wake Me Up alongside his remixes of Robyn and Dizzee Rascal.

But the DJ, who famously let the cat out of the bag when he revealed most major DJs pre-programmed their sets (comments he later walked back), was also known for dropping unexpected, whimsical tracks into his performances. A bit of Smokey Robinson here; a dash of Chicago there.

He approached it all with an energy and optimism that permeated his own recordings. It’s no surprise he was one of the most beloved DJs on the circuit.

Avicii in his own words

  • To Billboard Magazine in 2016: “When I look back on my life, I think: whoa, did I do that? It was the best time of my life in a sense. It came with a price – a lot of stress, a lot of anxiety for me – but it was the best journey of my life”
  • Post-retirement on his website: “[Creating music], that is what I live for, what I feel I was born to do… The next stage will be all about my love of making music to you guys. It is the beginning of something new.”
  • Prelude to music video for hit The Nights: “When I was 16, my father said, ‘You can do anything you want with your life, you just have to be willing to work hard to get it.’ That’s when I decided when I die, I want to be remembered for the life I live, not the money I make.”

Are you an Avicii fan? Did you meet him or go to one of his gigs? Tell us about it by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.

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