Gone too Soon: Avicii Lives on in Music, Tributes

By Allie McGlone

EDM DJ Tim Bergling, better known as Avicii, was found dead in Muscat, Oman this past Friday. The Swedish musical sensation was only 28 yrs. old. Avicii is best known for his 2013 hit “Wake Me Up”. The official cause of death has yet to be released.

His ex-girlfriend, Emily Goldberg, quoted the song in a touching Instagram caption. “Wake me up when it’s all over,” she wrote, “because I don’t want it to be real.”

Avicii took his name from Buddhism. Avīci is the name of the lowest level of hell in the religion – a place where sinners are reborn into eternal torture. Explaining this choice of name in a 2012 interview with USA Today the artist said, “it’s just cool.”

Avicii was only 16 when he started producing, and began touring at 18. He has put out five albums, topped the charts numerous times, and been nominated for two Grammy awards in the category best dance track.

Starting at the age of 21, the artist suffered from pancreatitis due to alcohol abuse. He once admitted in an interview, “drinking had become routine for me.” Avicii struggled with alcoholism and its complications throughout his adult life, and underwent drastic surgery and other medical attempts to heal his body. He announced his retirement in 2016 due to health problems. While the official cause of death has not been released, it is likely that he succumbed to his long standing illness.

Backstage at Coachella this weekend, musician and record producer Nile Rodgers emphasized Avicii’s amazing ability. He told the LA Times, “People don’t realize how talented he was. He had no formal musical training.” The musician expressed pain at Avicii’s death, saying he was “like a little brother.”

It seems Avicii was considered family by many, as Rodgers’ sentiment was echoed on social media.

Dutch DJ Hardwell tweeted Friday afternoon, “I’m gonna miss you brother, until we meet again!”

EDM musician Marshmello wrote to Avicii, “rest easy brother.”

“My brother,” wrote musician, producer and executive Steve Aoki. “I miss u.”

Other messages of mourning from fellow musicians peppered the internet all weekend. “God bless you Tim,” DJ and producer Calvin Harris proclaimed on Twitter. “Taken too soon,” singer Akon lamented. “Rest in peace, Avicii,” wrote DJ Snake. “We lost a legend.”

Although Avicii is dead, his spirit is alive in his art. His music, and his fans, are his legacy. Mike Posner’s tribute was an acoustic rendition of his 2015 hit at Coachella. “I took a pill in Ibiza, to show Avicii I was cool,” he sang over a roaring stadium. Images of the young man flashed on a huge screen. He was smiling, walking in slow motion against a glowing skyline. A few ragged voices from the crowd screamed out his name – “AVICII.”

The projection looked on peacefully, as if he knew he would not be forgotten.

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