Avicii’s cause of death remains a mystery, but the sudden passing of the Swedish DJ has cast a light on his troubled final years that included chronic health issues and struggles with alcohol that led him to an early retirement.
The DJ, whose real name was Tim Bergling, was found dead in Oman this week. His death at the age of 28 has sent shockwaves around the music world and led to an outpouring of condolences and remembrances for the impact he had on the modern electronic dance movement. As the Associated Press noted, there is no official cause of death for Avicii, who was traveling to Bahrain where he was scheduled to serve as the headline act for the Bahrain Grand Prix concert series.
The sudden passing of Avicii has sent many searching for the cause of death for the famed DJ, a passing that remains shrouded in mystery. While there is not yet a clear indication of what caused his death, Avicii was open in his final years about the health struggles and destructive lifestyle that brought his career to a halt.
In 2016, he published an emotional letter on his website announcing his retirement from performing, saying he was in desperate need of a break.
“Two weeks ago, I took the time to drive across the U.S. with my friends and team, to just look and see and think about things in a new way,” he wrote. “It really helped me realize that I needed to make the change that I’d been struggling with for a while.”
Avicii would later return to recording and eventually performing as well, but his health struggles would have a continued effect on him. As the Hollywood Reporter noted, he suffered from very serious and very public health problems, including a bout with acute pancreatitis brought on in part by excessive drinking. Avicii ended up having his gallbladder and appendix removed, the outlet noted.
— Jim Clancy (@ClancyReports) April 20, 2018
The outlet interviewed Avicii a few years later and noted that he still had difficulty in recovering, with a “gaunt face” and light complexion. But Avicii said his break from the spotlight did wonders for his stress level, and that he felt the happiest he had been in a long time.
Many around Avicii were happy to see him taking a break. Laidback Luke, the head of the Mixmash Records label where Avicii made his breakthrough, wrote in an op-ed for Billboard (via InTheMix) that young DJs are put through a gauntlet when trying to make a name for themselves.
“The first few years of heavy touring can have a major impact on a person’s life, health, and sanity. DJs on tour average about four hours of sleep per night, and with drinking, afterparties, adulation, and everything that comes with it, it’s easy to lose oneself,” Luke wrote. “Unlike pop, rock or rap, they don’t tour in cycles — they’re always on tour, virtually every week, sometimes every day.”
Luke said that Avicii “looked terrible” when he saw him in the summer of 2015, leading Luke to worry that Avicii could be headed to an early death if he did not make some drastic changes.
“It sounds horrible but it’s the truth, and I can’t take back the overwhelming sense of frustration I felt,” Luke wrote.
Fans hoping to learn Avicii’s cause of death may not have answers anytime soon. In the wake of his passing, Bergling’s family has asked for privacy, and the official statement from his manager made no mention of a potential cause of his death.