Remembering Avicii On The Anniversary Of His Death

By Stu Kelly / April 20, 2019

One year ago today the world tragically lost Avicii in what was later confirmed as a suicide. He was only 28-years-old when he passed away leaving many unanswered questions. Ultimately it was later confirmed he was struggling with a series of physical ailments and mental health issues which contributed to his suicide. 

Born Tim Bergling, the Sweedish DJ rose to superstardom in 2011 with the release of his first major hit “Levels” when he was only 21. The success of the new track quickly catapulted the rising star from playing small clubs to arenas around the world. The quick rise of success came with downfalls as Burgling found himself trapped in a workaholic cycle that became dangerous. Over the course of his seven year career, he performed a total of 813 shows. 

Netflix documentary titled Avicii: True Stories chronicles his rise and downfall from a personal point of view, with plenty of previously unaired interviews and behind the scenes footage. Once the wheels of success were in full motion, Avicii pushed his touring to dangerous limits. “I was a young, single guy and everything was one big party…we realized we could tour the whole year round so that’s what we did,” said Avicii in the documentary. 

The rigorous touring schedule eventually caught up with the young star, who was using alcohol to self-medicate his nerves on stage. “In the beginning I was too afraid to drink before shows because I was afraid I’d screw it up but I realized I was too stiff so I started having a couple of drinks before going on,” said Avicii. 

During an Australian tour, Avicii was diagnosed with pancreatitis after suffering insurable stomach pains on a flight. Footage was included in the documentary of Australian doctors telling him he was not well enough to perform, which only lead to Avicii asking if he could be discharged so he could continue his tour. The pain he felt paled in comparison to the pressure he felt to please his fans and keep touring. “I would wake up every day and was in pain. It was constant and everything was in a haze and I didn’t know how long I could keep going like that.”

His career continued to ascend, largely in part to tracks like “Wake Me Up” and “Hey Brother” but the health issues remained. “I was in so much pain but all I was given was medicine and told ‘take this and you’ll feel better,” explained Avicii. “It was like heroin but it also wasn’t helping the pain but I just assumed the doctors knew what they were doing. Having the pancreatitis wasn’t the problem, it was the pain that stays with you afterwards.” The DJ was taking up to 20 pills a days to help with his pain and he eventually had to take a hiatus.

Avicii took half a year away from touring to work on his sophomore album Stories. Once it was completed he immediately felt the pressure to return to the road. “I’ve been away for six months and I’ve done everything I can and straight away I’m stressed and I still don’t like performing,” explained Avicii. “I don’t know how to explain to people that my life is all about stress.” Avicii penned a letter to fans saying he was no longer able to perform.Tragically, two years later, he took his own life. 

Avicii’s family recently shared plans to launch a suicide prevention and mental health awareness initiative called the Tim Bergling Foundation. His first posthumous album Tim will be released in June of this year. The lead single, “SOS” featuring Aloe Blacc, arrived last week.

About the author

Stu Kelly