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Who Is Avicii and What Caused His Death?

JoyLevine is an avid linguistics/language arts enthusiast. She grew up with her nose stuck in a book almost every day.



Who Was Avicii?

Tim Bergling was born on September 9, 1989, in Stockholm, Sweden to Klas Bergling and Anki Liden. By the time he was 20, Bergling had already made a name for himself in the music industry.

Bergling, who adopted the stage name Avicii, was a musician, record producer, DJ, and remixer. He had a very distinct style that became well-known and recognized in the industry. Bergling was also very efficient in producing music quickly and effectively.

In 2010, Bergling released the single "Seek Bromance," which reached the top 20 in several countries, including Belgium, Sweden, France, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. He signed with EMI Music Publishing in October of the same year.

How Did Avicii Become Famous?

Avicii had his breakthrough in 2011 when he produced and released "Levels." This became his breakthrough, reaching the top ten in thirteen countries and topping the charts in three countries.

"Levels" can best be described as dance music, an upbeat multifaceted tune featuring pulsing beats, electronic nuances, and incorporating a unique vocal sample by Etta James. Bergling was nominated for Best Dance Recording at the 2013 Grammy Awards for "Levels."

One year prior, in 2012, he appeared in Miami at the Ultra Music Festival and performed "Girls Gone Wild" with Madonna and "Superlove" with Lenny Kravitz.

Avicii on stage

Avicii on stage

Tom Bergling's Influences and His Philanthropic Work

Avicii was influenced mostly by listening to Daft Punk growing up. He also listened to Swedish House Mafia and Eric Prydyz.

Avicii believed in giving back to the community. He was involved in such organizations as House for Hunger, which he started in 2011 with the goal of alleviating global hunger. He also donated $1 million dollars to the charity Feeding America, and supported campaigns against human trafficking and gang violence.

Tom Bergling and his friends

Tom Bergling and his friends

Deteriorating Health

Avicii stopped performing live on stage in 2016 when he was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis, a serious health condition that can often prove fatal. The pancreatitis Avicii experienced was due to excessive alcohol use. Pancreatitis can cause upper abdominal pain, especially after eating, that radiates to the lower back. Fever, rapid pulse, nausea, and vomiting are also symptoms of an acute pancreatitis attack.


Avicii's Sudden Death and Epilogue

Avicii died on April 20, 2018, at Muscan, Oman at the age of 28. Although no exact cause of death has been given, many speculate that it may have been related to heavy alcohol and possibly drug abuse.

The entertainment world was certainly shocked by his sudden death. They mourn the loss of this talented artist. It seems that many in the entertainment industry end up wandering down a lot of the same dark paths in their quest for fandom. While fame and money on the outside seem desirable, there is a lot of baggage that comes along with it.

I have heard many artists express it the same way…that there is a paradoxical emptiness, an unexplained void in the pseudo-reality of success. The more the masses stampede around you, the bigger the hole inside that forms.

An artist loves his craft, loves performing, loves others to appreciate his work—they thrive on that, they live for that. But with the fandom, with the masses, comes a heavy toll and a high price that some are not ready nor equipped to handle. Different people take different paths when they reach success. A minor few manage it unscathed. Avicii was not one of them.

Friends often described him as shy, always more comfortable behind his turntable than in the crowds. He was often perceived as slightly awkward in interviews. At best, while he loved his music and success, he seemed to struggle with fame.

Some made accusations that he seemed to live on nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, and fast food. Whether this was true or not, he did have to cancel concerts and tours in 2014 for emergency surgery on his gall bladder and appendix, more classic symptoms of alcoholism.

When alcoholism affected his health, and he was no longer able to perform publicly, Tim returned to the craft, to the art, to the core of what he loved—his music. He went back to the beginning. He went back to his home, to his own little studio, and there, he created and produced from the heart.

So, in the end, he set himself free. In this way, Avicii will always be the ultimate success story. His life and work will be remembered for all time.

Tom Bergling (Avicii) as a child. The innocence of youth.

Tom Bergling (Avicii) as a child. The innocence of youth.


JoyLevine (author) from 3rd Rock from the Sun on November 06, 2019:

Thank you. I agree, he was truly an inspiration.

Tina on October 18, 2019:

Just listening to music this morning and heard the song HEAVEN. Googled and read your article. Thank you. It’s too bad and what a loss. I hope more people were able to read what you wrote. He was a gifted artist.

Pam on August 13, 2018:

He was one of my favorite musicians! Idk him personally but a huge fan. So sad!

JoyLevine (author) from 3rd Rock from the Sun on April 25, 2018:

Very few people in the entertainment industry seem unaffected by drugs and alcohol. It is a true shame. Thank you for your kind comments, Readmikenow.

Readmikenow on April 25, 2018:

I did not know about him. It seems like such a loss. So many well-known musicians have let drugs and alcohol take their lives. I'm sure it affected his fans deeply. Well done article. I enjoyed reading it.

JoyLevine (author) from 3rd Rock from the Sun on April 25, 2018:

Mary, I was the same as you. I had never even heard of him, although when I heard some of his music, I recognized some of it.

It inspired me to do some research and the more I found out, the more inspired I was to write the article. He was a very multifaceted and talented person.

He struggled with fame, as so many do. When many people experience the dark side of fame, the lose everything. They lose their art, they lose themselves, and they hurt the people around them. He didn't.

When things got rough, he went back to the beginning. He found his center and continued to create. I admire that. That is a person worth remembering.


Thank you for your positive thoughts. And it is true, even when you don't know the person, the pain of death is real and is felt universally.

Dina AH from United States on April 21, 2018:

This was such an informative hub. You approach Avicii's life with respect and gentleness. I haven't listened to his music before but death is always painful, even if you don't really know the person. It's a shocking reminder of our mortality. Rest in peace, Avicii.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on April 21, 2018:

I have to admit I haven't really known him before the announcement and then, I recognize some of his music. I did not know how much he did for society and that is heartening to know. I wish he had more years to share his music.