Roxette singer Marie Fredriksson has died aged 61 after a 17-year battle with cancer.
The Swedish pop star, whose most iconic hits included It Must Have Been Love and Listen To Your Heart, passed away on Monday morning and her bandmate, Per Gessle, said ‘things will never be the same.’
The musician retired from touring three years ago on doctor’s orders, and is survived by husband Mikael Bolyos and their two children, daughter Inez Josefin, 26, and son Oscar, 23.
Roxette’s debut single Neverending Love followed by the album Pearls of Passion in 1986 made the band big stars in Sweden.
But it was after the release of their single, The Look from Roxette’s second album Look Sharp! that their fame grew internationally.
The record became the first of four US number ones for the band, while its parent album, Look Sharp!, went platinum.
Hailing from Halmstad, Sweden, Roxette achieved their biggest success when their 1987 Christmas single, It Must Have Been Love, was included on the Pretty Woman soundtrack in 1990.
It topped the charts in over ten countries, and gave the band their biggest UK hit, reaching number three.
The band sold an estimated 75m records worldwide, and recorded 10 studio albums.
A statement released by her management said: ‘Marie Fredriksson is most mourned by her husband Mikael Bolyos and their two children.
‘It is with great sadness that we have to announce that one of our biggest and most beloved artists is gone.’
‘Marie Fredriksson passed away in the morning of December 9, as a result of her previous illness,’ the family wrote in a statement.’
Her family added Marie ‘will be buried in silence with only the closest family present.’
Gessle, who formed the band in 1986 with Marie and had been friends with her since the 70s, paid tribute, writing: ‘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!
‘Thank you, Marie, thanks for everything. You were an outstanding musician, a master of the voice, an amazing performer. Thanks for painting my black and white songs in the most beautiful colours.
‘You were the most wonderful friend for over 40 years. I’m proud, honoured and happy to have been able to share so much of your time, talent, warmth, generosity and sense of humour.
‘All my love goes out to you and your family. Things will never be the same.’
The star’s management added: ‘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.
‘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.’
According to Swedish newspaper Expressen, Marie passed away in hospital.
Back in September 2002, Marie complained of feeling unwell while out jogging with her husband.
She later suffered a seizure while at home and collapsed, cracking her skull. After an MRI scan, a brain tumour was detected and she was given a 25% chance of survival.
Marie had surgery to remove the tumour and completed months of gruelling chemotherapy and radiation and was left with various health problems.
The singer became blind in one eye and with limited hearing and was unable to speak for months afterwards.
She wrote about the ‘fear’ she had felt in a record (solo) called The Change.
The lyrics read: ‘Suddenly the change was here/ Cold as ice and full of fear / There was nothing I could do / I saw slow motion pictures / Of me and you.
In 2005, Marie told Sweden’s Aftonbladet newspaper : ‘It’s been three very difficult years, I’m healthy. I’m not receiving treatment any more.’
The band had been on hiatus ever since Marie’s diagnosis and reformed in 2009 when she went to see Gessle perform a solo concert in Holland.
She made a surprise guest appearance and Gessle told The Guardian back in 2012: ‘She had no self confidence, and said she couldn’t sing any more.
‘But she staggered up on stage anyway – and the audience just died … people were crying to the left and right.
‘Afterwards she was like a changed person and two weeks later she called me asking if I’d want to write another Roxette album.’
In 2016, Marie announced that she would no longer touring.
Her final performance came that year during the Roxette 30th Anniversary Tour in concert, Johannesburg, South Africa on January 31.
A Facebook post read: ‘Roxette were supposed to start the last leg of their massive RoXXXette 30th Anniversary Tour on June 3rd.
‘However, singer Marie Fredriksson has been advised by her doctors to refrain from touring and as a consequence all the summer shows are cancelled.
‘Their last performance was to be at the Grand Arena in Cape Town, South Africa on February 8 earlier this year. ‘
Marie wrote underneath: ‘It’s been an amazing 30 years! I feel nothing but joy and happiness when I look back on the Roxette world tours. All our shows and memories over the years will forever be a big part of my life.
‘I’m particularly proud and grateful for coming back in 2009 after my severe illness and to have been able to take Roxette around the globe a couple of more times.
‘Sadly, now my touring days are over and I want to take this opportunity to thank our wonderful fans that has followed us on our long and winding journey.
‘I look forward to the release of our album Good Karma in June — for me it’s our best album ever!’
Chief executive Sarah Lindsell, from The Brain Tumour Charity said in a statement:
‘We are very saddened to hear about Marie Fredriksson’s death – and our hearts go out to her family and friends.
‘Like Marie, many people suffer long-term health complications after their brain tumour diagnosis and treatment such as loss of sight, hearing and radiation injury.
‘Over 11,700 people a year are diagnosed with a primary brain tumour – that’s 32 a day – and our five-year research strategy A Cure Can’t Wait aims to double survival within 10 years and halve the harm brain tumours have on quality of life.’