A strange theory that Swedish D.J. Avicii was murdered has taken hold among the fringes of the internet, claiming that the pioneer of the electronic dance music scene was taken out for threatening to expose a pedophile ring.
Avicii's death last month brought an outpouring of condolences from across the music world, but also raised some suspicion. The mysterious manner in which he died and his past struggles with alcohol abuse and health issues led many to wonder if there was something unnatural about his passing, and some then questioned whether it was an accident at all. Those rumors grew so vast that it prompted the rumor-busting site Snopes to break down the strange theory.
The release this week of the D.J.'s likely cause of death --- which appeared to be suicide by means of a deep gash using a broken wine bottle --- has only added fuel to the rumors that Avicii may have been murdered.
The basis of the rumor appears to be grounded in some reality. During his life, Avicii did take steps to raise awareness of human trafficking, and he even said that the music video for his 2015 song "For a Better Day" was meant to draw awareness to the trafficking of children.
But shortly after his death, that fueled what appeared to be unfounded rumors that Avicii was actually murdered for threatening to expose a pedophile ring. As Snopes noted, the story seemed to originate on a fringe conspiracy theory news site called NeonNettle, a known purveyor of fake news. As NyMag noted, the site reported earlier this year that Donald Trump was feared dead in a fire that broke out in Trump Tower.
The report from NeonNettle went on to draw parallels between Avicii's death and the deaths of Linkin' Park's Chester Bennington and Soundgarden's Chris Cornell, claiming that the former two were working together to expose pedophiles in the music industry.
Since the story was published, many other sites even further to the fringes of the internet have picked up on the theory that Avicii was murdered, most offering the same rationale. Others then echoed the claims on social media.