DJ Avicii dies in Oman, aged 28

Avicii - whose real name was Tim Bergling - helped spark the global boom in electronic music.
Avicii - whose real name was Tim Bergling - helped spark the global boom in electronic music.

He struggled with party lifestyle and retired from touring in 2016 after health scares

NEW YORK • Avicii, one of the world's most successful DJs, who helped usher in the global boom in electronic music but struggled to cope with the hard-partying lifestyle, died last Friday in Oman, his representative said. He was 28.

Two years after his unusually early retirement from touring, the Swedish DJ was found dead in the Gulf sultanate's capital, Muscat.

His death was confirmed by a spokesman, Ms Diana Baron, who did not specify a cause. He was in Oman to visit friends, she said.

"The family is devastated and we ask everyone to please respect their need for privacy in this difficult time," Ms Baron said.

Avicii - whose real name was Tim Bergling - became famous with his 2011 hit Levels, and was part of a wave of electronic dance music DJs who achieved pop-star levels of prominence.

His songs have been streamed more than one billion times on Spotify. He was nominated for two Grammy Awards for best dance recording, in 2012 and 2013, and his most well-known song Wake Me Up reached the No. 4 spot on Billboard's Hot 100 chart.

He also released two albums: the platinum True in 2013, and Stories in 2015. His most recent release was the 2017 EP Avici (01), which was intended to be the first in a series of three EPs.

He took his stage name from the Sanskrit word for the lowest level of hell in Buddhism, adding an additional "i" at the end.

On his recordings, Avicii teamed up with a wide range of musicians, including bluegrass artist Dan Tyminski, country-rock singer Zac Brown, glam-pop vocalist Adam Lambert and rapper-singer Wyclef Jean. He produced music for Madonna and Coldplay, and became one of the highest paid DJs.

In 2015, Forbes ranked him as the world's sixth-highest-paid DJ, estimating his annual earnings at US$19 million (S$25 million).

But Avicii retired from international touring in 2016 at age 26 after a series of health scares that struck while he was on the road.

He had his gallbladder and appendix removed in 2014. Before that, at 21, he learnt he had acute pancreatitis, which he said was related in part to excessive drinking.

"I was drinking way too much, partying in general way too much," he said in a 2013 interview with Time magazine. "So that forced me to do a 180 and stop drinking."

His death stunned his fans and the music world.

On Instagram, Madonna posted a picture of herself in the DJ booth with Avicii, and wrote: "So tragic. Goodbye dear sweet Tim. Gone too soon."

DJ David Guetta, who collaborated with Avicii, wrote on Twitter: "Words can not describe how I feel right now. I am gonna miss you brother."

Dutch superstar DJ Tiesto, an early mentor to Avicii, also mourned on Twitter: "A beautiful soul, passionate and extremely talented with so much more to do."

In 2015, Avicii DJ-ed the wedding reception of Sweden's Prince Carl Philip and his bride Sofia. The couple mourned him in a statement, saying: "We had the honour to have known him and admired him both as an artist and the beautiful person that he was."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 22, 2018, with the headline 'DJ Avicii dies in Oman, aged 28'. Print Edition | Subscribe