AS the music world mourns DJ Avicii, who was found dead in a hotel in Oman, legendary producer Nile Rodgers has revealed the 28-year-old DJ’s battles with alcohol.
AVICII battled with his health in the years leading up to his shock death.
The Swedish DJ, whose real name was Tim Bergling, passed away at the age of 28 in Muscat, Oman earlier today.
While the circumstances surrounding his death remain a mystery, with friends revealing he was visiting Oman for the first time, the star has been open about his health struggles in the past.
For many fans, the first indication that he had been battling poor health came in 2013, when he was rushed to hospital with acute pancreatitis after arriving in Australia for a headlining tour of the Future Music Festival.
The producer and model spent six days in a Brisbane hospital, where he reportedly convinced doctors to delay a gall bladder operation to treat his condition so he could rejoin the festival circuit.
“It was the most painful thing,’’ he said at the time. “I am lucky that this is an acute case, not chronic and not life-threatening and I think I will do all right with the pain medication.’’
He would later shock fans in 2016 by announcing his retirement from touring.
Legendary producer Nile Rodgers said his last performance with Avicii — about three years ago — upset him because he realised that Avicii had been drinking again.
“It was a little bit sad to me because he had promised me he would stop drinking, and when I saw him he was drunk that night. And I was like, ‘Whoa. Dude. C’mon. What are you doing? What’s going on? You said that that was done,”’ Rodgers recalled.
“We did a show and I was a little upset. I didn’t even stick around for his performance because it was breaking my heart. But we still had a great time. It was wonderful — we were that close.”
THE DARK SIDE OF DJ STARDOM
Avicii wrote in an emotional post on his website at the time of his retirement: “Two weeks ago, I took the time to drive across the US with my friends and team, to just look and see and think about things in a new way.”
“It really helped me realise that I needed to make the change that I’d been struggling with for a while.”
In a subsequent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he explained his decision to step back from touring.
“To me it was something I had to do for my health,” he said.
“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.”
In an oft-discussed interview with GQ Magazine, Avicii described his alcoholism that led to acute pancreatitis as stemming from being “so nervous,” and “(getting) into a habit (of drinking), because you rely on that encouragement and self-confidence you get from alcohol, and then you get dependent on it.”
In response to Avicii’s retirement announcement, veteran DJ/producer Laidback Luke, who signed the then unknown Swedish teenager to his label to release his first big hit Ryu, wrote an op-ed for Billboard about “the dark side of DJ stardom”.
“The first few years of heavy touring can have a major impact on a person’s life, health and sanity,” Laidback Luke, real name Lucas Cornelis van Scheppingen, wrote.
“DJs on tour average about four hours of sleep per night, and with drinking, afterparties, adulation and everything that comes with it, it’s easy to lose oneself.
“They make many new friends — at least for the moment — and some find another new friend: alcohol or whichever vice helps them deal with feeling displaced all the time. The pressures of being on the road as a DJ are constant and relentless. Unlike pop, rock or rap, they don’t tour in cycles — they’re always on tour, virtually every week, sometimes every day.”
He added that when he saw Avicii in August 2015, his friend looked “terrible” and “oh so tired”, and he wondered if his friend would join “the infamous ‘27 club’ of music and film stars who died at that age. It sounds horrible but it’s the truth, and I can’t take back the overwhelming sense of frustration I felt.”
FANS SHOCKED BY SUDDEN DEATH
Avicii’s publicist Diana Baron announced in a statement this morning that the musician was in the Oman capital of Muscat at the time of his death.
“It is with profound sorrow that we announce the loss of Tim Bergling, also known as Avicii,” the statement read, Variety reported.
“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.”
Devastated fans took to social media to express their shock, some revealing they met him in Oman just days before he died.
A popular beach club in Muscat, the Muscat Hills Resort, uploaded a photo of the star with guests just three days ago, with the DJ seen smiling and relaxed as he happily posed with his adoring fans.