Avicii Faced Health Issues in Years Before Death

Two years before he was found dead on Friday at 28 years old, Avicii, whose real name was Tim Bergling, opened up about health issues that caused him to retire from performing live.

Two years before that, the Swedish EDM DJ and producer had his gallbladder and appendix removed. But his troubles began in 2012, when he was hospitalized in New York for 11 days with acute pancreatitis, in part due to excessive drinking.

The condition flared up again in March 2013, prompting show cancellations and another hospital stay, this time in Australia. Doctors urged him to have his gallbladder removed, but he declined at the time, citing preparation for his debut LP, True, which would go on to top Billboard's Dance/Electronic Albums chart for six weeks.

That's when he stopped drinking.

But in March 2014, stomach pains forced him to pull out of Miami's Ultra Music Festival. He learned that his pancreas issues had returned, but admittedly didn't heed it much notice at first.

"I took a month off, but it wasn't really a month off," Avicii told Billboard. "I was in the studio 12 hours a day, and then went right back to touring. It's hard to say no in this industry. You want to play everything and be everywhere."

He slowed down after that summer after his gaunt appearance worried fans and other observers while he performed at festival gigs and a Las Vegas residency.

The "Levels" hitmaker told Billboard in the fall of 2014 that "taking a break was the absolute best thing I've done. I'm doing better and better."

Two years later, he apparently felt better enough to create new music, as he continued to put out hits, most recently with Rita Ora ("Lonely Together") and Sandro Cavazza ("Without You") in 2017.

Shortly after retiring from touring in 2016, he told The Hollywood Reporter that he was nervous when he told fans about the decision, in case he looked "ungrateful." But he said he felt so supported by "friends in the industry, other DJs, [and] other artists" that it went "a lot better than I expected."

He called the fan response to his announcement "incredible."

“To me it was something I had to do for my health,” he said of his decision to quit touring. “The scene was not for me. It was not the shows and not the music. It was always the other stuff surrounding it that never came naturally to me. All the other parts of being an artist. I'm more of an introverted person in general. It was always very hard for me. I took on board too much negative energy, I think.”

Although he reportedly looked far from healthy during that 2016 interview (THR used the phrase "pale, gaunt face"), he said he was happy.

“I just feel happy. I feel free at this point. Like I have my private life back and focusing on myself for the first time in a long time,” he says. “This was obviously the hardest decision of my life so far. But so far it has paid off tremendously in terms of well-being for me. I'm happier than I have been in a very very long time. Stress-free more than I have been in a very long time. I can't say I'm never going to have a show again. I just don't think I'm going to go back to the touring life.”

Avicii was found dead Friday, April 20, his publicist confirmed.

0comments

"It is with profound sorrow that we announce the loss of Tim Bergling, also known as Avicii. He was found dead in Muscat, Oman this Friday afternoon local time, April 20th. The family is devastated and we ask everyone to please respect their need for privacy in this difficult time. No further statements will be given," his publicist Diana Baron said in a statement.

No official cause of death has yet been released.