Tim Bergling, the Swedish DJ and producer who, performing as Avicii, helped kick-start the electronic dance music explosion of the 2010s, died Friday in Muscat, Oman. He was 28.
“It is with profound sorrow that we announce the loss of Tim Bergling, also known as Avicii,” representatives said in statement to the Associated Press. “The family is devastated, and we ask everyone to please respect their needfor privacy in this difficult time. No further statements will be given.”
No cause of death was immediately provided.
Sony/ATV Music Publishing confirmed the artist’s death in a statement, adding, “We are mourning the incredibly sad loss of an exceptionally creative talent who we have been honored and proud to represent as one of our songwriters for a number of years.”
Bergling throughout his career wrote and collaborated with artists across various genres, from pop and rock acts like Madonna and Coldplay to folk-leaning artists like Zac Brown and Kacey Musgraves, earning high praise for his production and melodic skills.
“This guy is one of the best melody writers, naturally from his soul, I’ve ever met in my life,” Chic guitarist and founding member Nile Rodgers told The Times before last month’s South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.
Rodgers partnered with Bergling on the Avicii single “Lay Me Down” and is scheduled to appear at this weekend’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio.
“You sit down with Avicii, and he’s on Fruity Loops [a production software program] making the coolest [stuff] you’ve ever heard. I love him, I adore him, I respect his talent. I’m so bold as to say that if you put Avicii and I in a room together for two weeks, we’ll write every top-10 song on the charts,” Rodgers said.
Bergling was one of EDM’s first crossover pop successes in the U.S., pairing big-room European house music with vocal samples from vintage soul and an unexpected element of stomping folk music.
“There’s so much inspiration to be found from older music — I’m always trying to write in Motown’s style, but updated,” he told The Times in 2012. “Soul and bluesy styles and samples work so well in house music. I want to combine the styles of today with the best of what’s been done.”
After rising to European stardom with the 2010 single “Seek Bromance,” he found global fame with his Grammy-nominated single “Le7els,” which sampled Etta James’ “Something’s Got a Hold on Me.” He became a regular festival headliner at major dance music events like Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, and soon became one of the highest-paid DJs in the world.
“I am deeply saddened to hear the news of Avicii’s passing. Tim was such a humble, kind and beautiful soul. As a dance music icon, he touched the lives of millions around the world, and broke down barriers between genres like dance music and country,” said Pasquale Rotella, the founder of Electric Daisy Carnival, in a statement to The Times. “He helped our culture make an impact on the mainstream that will never be forgotten.”
Bergling released his debut LP “True” in 2013, and that record’s country-EDM single with Aloe Blacc, “Wake Me Up,” peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 2013. “Hey Brother” hit No. 16 the following year.
In 2012, Bergling was hospitalized with acute pancreatitis exacerbated by heavy drinking, and after gallbladder and appendix surgeries, he canceled a run of tour dates.
“You are traveling around, you live in a suitcase, you get to this place, there’s free alcohol everywhere — it’s sort of weird if you don’t drink,” he told GQ magazine in 2013. “I just got into a habit, because you rely on that encouragement and self-confidence you get from alcohol, and then you get dependent on it.”
He last performed at Miami’s Ultra Music Festival in 2016 and days later announced that he was retiring from touring, citing longstanding health issues around the fast-paced DJ road schedule and lifestyle.
“We all reach a point in our lives and careers where we understand what matters the most to us,” he said in a statement at the time.
“For me, it’s creating music. That is what I live for, what I feel I was born to do,” he continued. “Last year I quit performing live, and many of you thought that was it. But the end of live never meant the end of Avicii or my music. Instead, I went back to the place where it all made sense — the studio. The next stage will be all about my love of making music to you guys. It is the beginning of something new. Hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.”
Last year, Bergling released a new EP, “AVĪCI” and a documentary, ”True Stories,” about his retirement from touring and new focus on studio work.
All over the dance and pop music worlds, his friends and collaborators were shocked by the news.
“Devastating news about Avicii, a beautiful soul, passionate and extremely talented with so much more to do. My heart goes out to his family. God bless you Tim,” wrote Calvin Harris, the superstar DJ and producer.
“My sincerest and most heartfelt condolences to the friends, fans and families of Avicii,” wrote the producer Deadmau5. “Nobody can deny what he has accomplished and done for modern dance music, and I’m very proud of him.”
Bergling is survived by his parents, two brothers and a sister.
7:30 p.m.: This article was updated with additional quotes.
2:25 p.m.: This post was updated with additional details on Bergling’s career.
2:04 p.m: This post was updated with Tim Bergling’s survivors and a quote from a past interview.
The article was originally published at 10:45 a.m.