An Inside Look At Avicii's Life Before His Untimely Death

Photo: Jesse Grant/WireImage.
On April 20, 2018, Swedish DJ Avicii was found dead in Muscat, Oman. He was 28-years-old. No immediate cause of death was given.
Avicii — whose given name was Tim Bergling — was considered a pioneer of EDM. He is one of the DJs credited with bringing the genre of music into the mainstream, as well as into the Top 40. Tracks like "Wake Me Up," "Levels," and "Hey Brother" proved that he had a knack for creating ear worms. His A-list collaborations, with everyone from David Guetta to Chris Martin of Coldplay, proved he was a rising star respected by the best in music — and ready to carve out his own space within the music industry.
Advertisement
Yet Avicii's personal life, according to a statement from his family, was not always easy. Described as a "fragile soul" by his family, Avicii "struggled with thoughts about meaning, life, happiness." In a documentary titled Avicii: True Stories, the musician seemingly predicted that he was going to die if he did not stop touring. (The DJ had dealt with health problems for some time, and retired from performing live in 2016 to manage them.)
"Everyone knows that I've had anxiety and that I have tried. I did not expect that people would try to pressure me into doing more gigs," Avicii said in the documentary. "I have said, like, I'm going to die. I have said it so many times. And so I don't want to hear that I should entertain the thought of doing another gig."
Though his death is certainly on fans' minds, his too-short career was prolific for such a young artist. Click through to read about how Avicii went from virtual unknown to a superstar DJ.
1 of 9
Photo: IBL/REX/Shutterstock
How Tim Bergling Became Avicii

The artist got his start on Laidback Luke forums, a site dedicated to helping young DJs tracks heard. According to Bergling's 2013 interview with VEVO, he used the term Avicii as his stage name because "Avici" means "the lowest level of Buddhist hell." The name first appeared on the forum where he shared his music.
2 of 9
Photo: Johnny Nunez/WireImage
His First Big Hit

Bergling released his song "Seek Bromance" in 2010. Though the song did very well in Europe, many fans might not associate the track with Avicii: He released it under the name Tim Berg.
Advertisement
3 of 9
Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Avicii Reaches A Whole New Level

Under what would become his permanent stage name, Bergling releases soon-to-be popular track "Levels" in 2011. That led to a collaboration with David Guetta, on the track "Sunshine." That year, he was a featured performer at music festival Lollapalooza in Chicago.

The American music industry starts to take note of the Swedish DJ. In 2012, he receives a Grammy nod for Best Dance Recording for "Sunshine," and, in 2013, is nominated for "Levels."
4 of 9
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Avicii's First Album Is Released

His album True, which features his single "Wake Me Up," is released in September of 2013. In 2014, the track — which featured singer Aloe Blacc — becomes the most-streamed song on Spotify.
5 of 9
Photo: William Van Hecke/Corbis/Getty Images
Avicii Takes A Step Back From Performing

Bergling announces in September of 2014 that he will take a break from performing in order to deal with health issues related to gall bladder surgery. He cancels the remaining concerts on his 2014 tour, which included a performance at Atlanta's TomorrowWorld EDM festival, as well as his residency shows at Las Vegas' Encore Beach Club and XS Nightclub.
6 of 9
Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images
Avicii Is Name-Checked In A Hit Song

Further establishing his music clout, Bergling is named in Mike Posner's 2016 song "I Took A Pill In Ibiza," in which Posner sings: "I took a pill in Ibiza/To show Avicii I was cool."
7 of 9
Photo: D Dipasupil/Getty Images
Avicii Officially Retires

Though he goes back to performing after taking a break following gall bladder surgery, Bergling announces on Facebook in March of 2016 that he is done touring and performing live. He told Rolling Stone in a September 2017 interview:

"A lot of things start suffering when you don't have the energy or time to do things properly. You think you can get away with it, but the quality suffers."
8 of 9
Photo: IBL/REX/Shutterstock
He Releases His Final Music

On August 10, 2017, Bergling releases a six-track EP titled Avīci, planned to be just one part of his third studio album.

"I'm really excited to be back with music once again, it has been a long time since I released anything and a long time since I was this excited over new music!" Bergling said in a statement to Billboard. "My focus on this first EP of the album was to get a mix of new and old songs, some that fans have been asking about/waiting for mixed with brand new songs that they haven't heard before!"
9 of 9
Photo: Jesse Grant/WireImage
The World Mourns Avicii

Bergling is found dead in Muscat, Oman. His family releases this statement:

"We would like to thank you for the support and the loving words about our son and brother. We are so grateful for everyone who loved Tim’s music and have precious memories of his songs. Thank you for all the initiatives taken to honour Tim, with public gatherings, church bells ringing out his music, tributes at Coachella and moments of silence around the world."
Advertisement

More from Music

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Fashion
A look at the subcultures around the world that colour what we wear — and why.
Watch Now
Travel
Explore the world's most vibrant cultural and culinary centres—in 60 seconds, of course.
Watch Now
Beauty
The craziest trends, most unique treatments, and strangest subcultures in the beauty world.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Millennial survivor-woman Lucie Fink dives headfirst into social experiments, 5 days at a time.