Avicii, the Swedish DJ and producer born Tim Bergling who rose to the top of the electronic dance music scene but retired from touring in 2016 because of health concerns, was found dead today in Oman. He was 28. His publicist confirmed the news but gave no cause of death.
“It is with profound sorrow that we announce the loss of Tim Bergling, also known as Avicii,” Diana Baron said in a statement. “He was found dead in Muscat, Oman this Friday afternoon local time, April 20th. 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.”
Avicii had his gall bladder and appendix removed in March 2014, two years after a pancreatitis scare, but was back making the festival rounds that summer when he abruptly canceled all his tour dates. In March 2016, he announced his retirement from touring because of lingering health issues.
A two-time Grammy nominee, Avicii’s AVĪCI (01) was nominated for a 2018 Billboard Music Award this week as Top Dance/Electronic Album.
Born on September 8, 1989, in Stockholm, Avicii exploded onto the international EDM scene with his 2011 song “Levels,” which topped charts around the world including the U.S., reaching No. 1 on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart and going platinum. He followed that up with the international smash “Wake Me Up,” from his 2013 debut studio album True. The record also spawned the hit singles “Hey Brother” and “Addicted to You,” and by that time Avicii was headlining festivals.
Here’s the video of Lea Michele as Rachel Berry performing her version of “Wake Me Up” from the 2014 Glee episode “The Back-Up Plan”:
Also a popular and in-demand producer, by 2015 Avicii had collaborated with such genre-spanning big acts as Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Jon Bon Jovi, Wyclef Jean, System of a Down’s Serj Tankian and reggae rapper Matisyahu. His next studio album was 2015’s Stories, which was less commercially successful but still made the top 10 more than a dozen countries, peaking at No. 17 in the U.S.
But of course, EDM music’s hardly about record sales. Avicii played and often headlined festivals around the world including the Ultra Music Festival in Miami. In 2012 he became the first DJ to headline Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, playing a pair of sold-out shows.
In March 2014, he collaborated with acts including Jean, Carlos Santana and Alexander Pires on the official anthem of that year’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil. “Dar um Jeito (We Will Find a Way)” was performed at the Closing Ceremony.
His music was featured in dozens of TV shows, in the U.S. ranging from Glee and The Voice t0 Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance, and films including Pitch Perfect 3, Toni Erdmann, Madonna: Rebel Heart and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dogs Days.