Marie Fredriksson, the much-beloved Swedish singer/songwriter, died on Monday. She was 61.
Fredriksson was best known as the lead vocalist, keyboardist and co-founder of pop-rock duo Roxette, which in the 1980s became a world-renowned musical act thanks to its synth-heavy smash-hits, including Listen to Your Heart, The Look and Joyride.
Throughout her life and career, Fredriksson also released music with a number of punk and rock bands before kicking off her own highly successful solo career. Her eighth and final solo album, Nu!, dropped in 2013.
With Roxette, Fredriksson put out 10 studio albums dating from 1986 to 2016 alongside former bandmate Per Gessle. They were Sweden’s best-known band since ABBA.
Dimberg Jernberg, Fredriksson’s management label, confirmed her death in a lengthy statement on Tuesday, which revealed she had been fighting cancer.
“It is with great sadness we have to announce that Marie Fredriksson has passed away in the morning of December 9, following a 17-year long battle with cancer,” the label wrote.
In late 2002, Fredriksson was diagnosed with a brain tumour. She underwent aggressive treatment that took its toll on her health, but was ultimately successful.
She was left blind in one eye, with limited hearing and mobility, making her unable to either read or write. Fredriksson also temporarily lost her speech following the treatment.
She slowly recovered, however, eventually making her way back to the stage with Gessle as Roxette for a number of different tours.
In 2003, Sweden’s King, Carl Gustaf XVI, awarded Roxette the royal award. Fredriksson made her first public appearance after her brain tumour operation to receive the honour with Gessle.
Gessle, 60, issued a statement to Facebook on Tuesday expressing both sorrow and gratitude of the time he shared with Fredriksson.
“Time goes by so quickly,” he wrote. “It’s not that long ago we spent days and nights in my tiny apartment in Halmstad, listening to music we loved, sharing impossible dreams. And what a dream we eventually got to share!
“Thank you Marie, thanks for everything. You were an outstanding musician, a master of the voice, an amazing performer. Thanks for painting my black and white songs with the most beautiful colours. You were the most wonderful friend for over 40 years.”
In wake of the news, thousands of social media users paid their respects to the singer’s friends and family. They shared some of their favourite Roxette lyrics, pictures and memories of listening to Fredriksson.
Here’s what some fans had to say on Twitter:
“R.I.P Marie Fredriksson,” tweeted another fan. “The legends are all going. I’ve spent my entire life listening to Roxette songs. You and Per will always be such an inspiration for me in music.”
Fredriksson was born in Össjö, Sweden on May 30, 1958.
She is survived by longtime husband, Mikael Bolyos, and their two children, Josefin and Oscar.
— With files from the Associated Press
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