Swedish DJ Avicii, real name Tim Bergling, died Friday in Oman, his publicist confirmed. He was 28.
"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.
He had retired from live performing in 2016, citing health reasons. No official cause of death has yet been released.
The electronic dance music superstar shocked his fans when he announced his retirement from live touring in an emotional letter he posted to his website in 2016.
"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."
He told The Hollywood Reporter that he was "nervous when I made the announcement, mainly that I would look ungrateful. But I've gotten so many supportive texts from friends in the industry, other DJs, other artists. The fan response has been incredible. And even the press response has been incredible. So yeah, its been a lot better than I expected.”
Avicii suffered from very public health problems, including acute pancreatitis, in part due to excessive drinking. After having his gallbladder and appendix removed in 2014, he canceled a series of shows in attempt to recover.
“To me it was something I had to do for my health,” he says 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 the "Wake Me Up" hitmaker reportedly looked far from healthy in his 2016 interview, he told THR that 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 said. “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.”
In a now-poignant letter to his fans on his website, Avicii wrote of his love for music and that his retirement from touring never signaled the end of his career.3comments
"We all reach a point in our lives and careers where we understand what matters the most to us. For me it’s creating music. That is what I live for, what I feel I was born to do. 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," he wrote.
"Hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do."