Stars re­flect on death of Avicii, DJ-pro­ducer who per­formed around the world

South Florida Times - - OBITUARIES - By MESFIN FEKADU AP Mu­sic Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - Avicii, the Grammy-nom­i­nated elec­tronic dance DJ who per­formed sold-out con­certs for fever­ish fans around the world and also had mas­sive suc­cess on U.S. pop ra­dio, died Fri­day. He was 28.

Pub­li­cist Diana Baron said in a state­ment that the Swedish per­former, born Tim Ber­gling, was found dead in Mus­cat, Oman.

“It is with pro­found sor­row that we an­nounce the loss of Tim Ber­gling, also known as Avicii,'' the state­ment read. “The fam­ily is dev­as­tated and we ask ev­ery­one to please re­spect their need for pri­vacy in this dif­fi­cult time. No fur­ther state­ments will be given.''

No more de­tails about the death were pro­vided. Oman po­lice and state me­dia had no im­me­di­ate re­port late Fri­day night on the artist's death.

Avicii was an in­ter­na­tional pop star, per­form­ing his well-known elec­tronic dance songs around the world for die-hard fans, some­times hun­dreds of thou­sands at mu­sic fes­ti­vals, where he was the head­line act. His pop­u­lar sound even sent him to the top of the charts and landed onto U.S. ra­dio: His most rec­og­nized song, the coun­try-dance mashup “Wake Me Up,'' was a multi-plat­inum suc­cess and peaked at No. 4 on Bill­board's Hot 100 chart. On the dance charts, he had seven Top 10 hits.

But in 2016, the per­former an­nounced he was re­tir­ing from the road. He con­tin­ued to pro­duce songs and al­bums.

Avicii was part of the wave of DJ-pro­duc­ers, like David Guetta, Calvin Har­ris and Swedish House Mafia, who broke out on the scene as lead per­form­ers in their own right, earn­ing in­ter­na­tional hits, fame, awards and more like typ­i­cal pop stars.

Avicii earned his first Grammy nom­i­na­tion at the 2012 show - for a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Guetta. It was around the time he gained more fame for the Etta James-sam­pled dance jam, “Le7els,'' which reached No. 1 in Swe­den.

Avicii built a strong mu­si­cal and per­sonal friend­ship with Nile Rodgers, who called Avicii his “lit­tle brother'' in an in­ter­view with The As­so­ci­ated Press on Fri­day.

“I'm shocked be­cause I don't know med­i­cally what hap­pened, but I can just say as a per­son, as a friend, and more im­por­tantly, as a mu­si­cian, Tim was one of the great­est, nat­u­ral melody writ­ers I've ever worked with, and I've worked with some of the most bril­liant mu­si­cians on this planet,'' Rodgers said.

Avicii had in the past suf­fered acute pan­cre­ati­tis, in part due to ex­ces­sive drink­ing. Af­ter hav­ing his gall­blad­der and ap­pen­dix re­moved in 2014, he can­celed a series of shows in at­tempt to re­cover.

“It's been a very crazy jour­ney. I started pro­duc­ing when I was 16. I started tour­ing when I was 18. From that point on, I just jumped into 100 per­cent,'' Avicii told The Hol­ly­wood Re­porter 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.''

Rodgers said his last per­for­mance with Avicii - about three years ago - up­set him be­cause of Avicii's drink­ing.

“It was a lit­tle bit sad to me be­cause he had promised me he would stop drink­ing, and when I saw him he was drunk that night. And I was like, `Whoa. Dude. C'mon. What are you do­ing? What's go­ing on? You said that that was done,''' Rodgers re­called. “We did a show and I was a lit­tle up­set. I didn't even stick around for his per­for­mance be­cause it was break­ing my heart. But we still had a great time. It was won­der­ful - we were that close.''

Last year, Avicii posted this mes­sage on his web­site, promis­ing to keep cre­at­ing: “The next stage will be all about my love of mak­ing mu­sic to you guys. It is the be­gin­ning of some­thing new.''

Fans and mem­bers of the mu­sic com­mu­nity mourned his death on so­cial me­dia Fri­day.

“Some­thing re­ally hor­ri­ble hap­pened. We lost a friend with such a beau­ti­ful heart and the world lost an in­cred­i­bly tal­ented mu­si­cian,'' Guetta wrote on In­sta­gram. “Thank you for your beau­ti­ful melodies, the time we shared in the stu­dio, play­ing to­gether as djs or just en­joy­ing life as friends. RIP (at) avicii.''

Calvin Har­ris called Avicii “a beau­ti­ful soul, pas­sion­ate and ex­tremely tal­ented with so much more to do.'' Ellie Goulding wrote that Avicii “in­spired so many of us. Wish I could have said that to you in per­son.''

AP writ­ers Mark Kennedy, Jon Gam­brell and David Key­ton con­trib­uted to this re­port.

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