Marie Fredriksson of Swedish pop duo Roxette dead at 61

Marie Fredriksson of Swedish pop duo Roxette dead at 61

Marie Fredriksson, the female half of the Swedish pop duo Roxette, has died at age 61, her management agency said Tuesday.

Fredriksson formed Roxette with Per Gessle in 1986. The two released their first album the same year and went on to achieve international success in the late 1980s and 1990s.

Fredriksson died Monday after having fought cancer for 17 years, the Dimberg Jernberg agency said in a statement.

“Marie leaves us a grand musical legacy. Her amazing voice – both strong and sensitive – and her magical live performances will be remembered by all of us who was lucky enough to witness them,” the firm said.

“But we also remember a wonderful person with a huge appetite for life, and woman with a very big heart who cared for everybody she met.” 

Her bandmate Gessle posted a tribute via social media, recalling their younger days.

“Time goes by so quickly. It’s not that long ago we spent days [and] nights in my tiny apartment sharing impossible dreams. And what a dream we eventually got to share,” he posted.

“Things will never be the same.”

Born in southern Sweden on May 30, 1958, Fredriksson had her artistic breakthrough as a solo artist in Sweden in the early 1980s. She formed the duo Roxette with Gessle in the mid-1980s and, by end of the decade, the pair had their first international hit with The Look.

They saw international success with their albums Look Sharp! in 1988 and Joyride in 1991, with hits like It Must Have Been Love (showcased in the soundtrack for the film Pretty Woman), Listen to Your Heart and Joyride. The pair sold 80 million records worldwide and embarked on world tours.

Fredriksson was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2002. She underwent aggressive treatment that took its toll, but ultimately was successful, her management agency said.

However, she was left blind in one eye, had limited hearing and mobility, and was unable to read or write. She was also unable to speak for a considerable period of time after her treatment. Over the years she was able to make a gradual return to the world stage.

Roxette was Sweden’s best-known band since ABBA in the 1970s and 1980s, and in 2003, Sweden’s Carl Gustaf XVI awarded the duo a royal award. Fredriksson made her first public appearance after her brain tumour operation to receive the honour with Gessle.

Fredriksson is survived by her husband, Mikael Bolyos, and their two children, Josefin and Oscar. 

Fredriksson is seen with her husband Mikael Boyloys attending the wedding of Sweden’s Princess Madeleine and Christopher O’Neill in Stockholm in 2013. (Anders Wiklund/Associated Press)

CBC | Arts News

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