Marie Fredriksson, singer of Swedish pop rock duo Roxette, died on Monday. She was 61.
The dynamic, spiky-haired vocalist had dominated global charts during the 80s and 90s with soft rock ballads like “It Must Have Been Love” and “Listen to Your Heart”.
Fredriksson’s manager shared the news that the singer had been struggling with cancer since 2002, when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour. “It is with great sorrow that we must inform you that one of greatest and most-loved artists is gone,” the statement read.
Per Gessele, half of the duo, took to Facebook to express his sadness: “You were an outstanding musician, a master of the voice, an amazing performer.”
Time goes by so quickly. It’s not that long ago we spent days+nights in my tiny apartment sharing impossible dreams. And what a dream we eventually got to share! I’m honoured to have met your talent+generosity. All my love goes to you+your family. Things will never be the same. pic.twitter.com/CTegAUGrXG
— Per Gessle (@PartyPleaser) December 10, 2019
In 2016, Roxette announced their plans to retire from touring due to Fredriksson’s failing deteriorating health. She appeared with her bandmate in LA in 2012, telling CBS News in an interview that she had conquered cancer: “Thank God it’s over. … It was very, very tough. But I’m here. I’m not dead. When I was very, very ill, we were very afraid.”
Fredriksson was born and raised in Sweden, the youngest of five children to a postman father and factory worker mother. Her early music education was almost entirely self-taught and she was influenced by giants including The Beatles, Joni Mitchell and Jimi Hendrix.
After studying music in the south of Sweden, she relocated and became actively involved in the punk-rock-indie scene. Here, she met her future band-mate Per Gessle, in 1986. In an interview years later, Gessle said of their first meeting, “When I first saw her she was screaming all over.”
The pair produced a total of ten albums throughout their long career, selling an estimated 60 million in total.
In a tribute on Twitter, Gessle said that “things will never be the same” following Fredrikksson’s passing:
“Time goes by so quickly. It’s not that long ago we spent days and nights in my tiny apartment in Halmstad, listening to music we loved, sharing impossible dreams. And what a dream we eventually got to share.”