Entertainment

Roxette singer Marie Fredriksson dies aged 61 after long illness

Her co-star Per Gessle thanked her ‘for painting my black and white songs the most beautiful colours'.

Music star Marie Fredriksson of the Swedish pop-rock duo Roxette has died at the age of 61.

The singer, known for hits including It Must Have Been Love and Listen To Your Heart with co-star Per Gessle, died on Monday following a 17-year battle with cancer.

Her death was revealed in a press release by the band’s management company Dimberg Jernberg Management.

Gessle said in a statement: “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. P.”

Fredriksson was diagnosed with a severe brain tumour in 2002, and Dimberg Jernberg Management said that she received “an aggressive treatment that took its toll but ultimately was successful”.

“Thanks to her extremely strong fighting spirit, Marie by 2009 was able to start a gradual return to the world’s stages,” they said.

“The unlikely second coming of Roxette resulted in several new albums, and tours that again put the duo in front of screaming, smiling and crying crowds all over the world. During the comeback years Marie was an amazing trooper, overcoming the many rigours of touring in order to meet her fans on stage again and again.

“But by 2016, the show was finally over when Marie’s doctors advised her to stop touring and focus on her health.”

Fredriksson was described as “a wonderful person with a huge appetite for life, and a woman with a very big heart who cared for everybody she met” in the management statement.

Roxette rose to international fame after forming in Sweden in the late 1980s.

Their single The Look from their second album Look Sharp! was their global breakthrough hit in 1989, followed by much-loved classics Listen To Your Heart, It Must Have Been Love and Joyride.

Roxette have sold more than 80 million records and won a slew of music awards, including an MTV Video Music Award and in 1990 they were nominated for a Brit Award for best international group.

They have released 10 studio albums, four of which charted in the top 10 in the UK.

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

Sarah Lindsell, chief executive of the Brain Tumour Charity, said: “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.”

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