Tim Bergling popularly known by the stage name Avicii was a Swedish musician, DJ, remixer and record producer who started his career at the early age of 16.
This is an in-depth look at Avicii’s life, death, and search for meaning as we all continue the search for and creation of our own.
The Life of The Boy Who Became Avicii.
Growing up, Tim Bergling was an extremely sensitive and timid kid whose acne outbreaks made him even more shy and withdrawn. As both an introvert and an empathy, he was terrified to speak in front of people. At age 16, Avicii began remixes for songs and shared on electronic dance music forums.
Two years later, a manager stumbled across one of his postings online. At 18, Avicii was invited to a coffee shop for a meeting. Tim had no clue about the business and just wanted to have the chance to DJ in a club instead of his bedroom, but his new manager had a bigger vision in mind for him.
Less than a year after that, Avicii was onstage alongside Madonna.
The kid who started as a bedroom DJ who’s first-ever gig as a DJ was playing to forty students at a high school prom, was now, five years later, commanding $250,000 and up for one night of work to perform in front of thousands. In 2013, he generated $20 million in earnings, followed by $28 million in 2014.
More Money, More Stress.
Avicii kept on chasing his lofty dreams. Avicii dream was to be successful beyond his own expectation but with immense success came immense stress, pressure, and overwhelm. Despite getting to the point of exhaustion, Avicii couldn’t say NO.
“When I started touring I was eighteen years old. I was straight out of high school, I had shows every single day. I completely overdid it.” -Avicii
He didn’t know how to say “no” to the drinks that were shoved into his hands, to the people, to the partying, to the lifestyle.
“I looked at myself like, “Fuck, you should’ve really stood up for yourself more there. Come on, Tim!” Why didn’t I stop the ship earlier ?” -Avicii
Everyone wanted a piece of him to break off and keep for themselves. Wanting to please, wanting to be accepted, and wanting to fit into an industry that pushes hard and promotes more, more, more, Tim kept saying “yes, yes, yes.”
“It’s very easy to become too attached to partying. You become lonely and get anxieties. It becomes toxic.” -Avicii
Stress signs began, softly at first, as they always do. If you ignore them, they become louder. They whisper, they speak, they shout and finally, they scream.
January 2012, Age 22: Avicii Hospitalized in New York for 11 Days.
Tim is hospitalized in New York City with acute pancreatitis, a consequence of heavy drinking. He remains in the hospital for 11 days.
March 2013, Age 23: Avicii Hospitalized in Australia.
Tim is hospitalized again for similar symptoms while on tour in Australia. Doctors urge him to have his gallbladder removed, but he declines.
March 28, 2014, Age 24: Avicii Hospitalized in Miami.
Tim is scheduled to be the headliner at the Ultra music festival in Miami. One day before what would have been his third performance in a row, he is again hospitalized with excruciating pain, fever, nausea, and other symptoms of acute pancreatitis. In the hospital, he learns that not only had his acute pancreatitis returned, but his appendix has burst. Both his gall bladder and his appendix have to be removed.
Five years earlier, Avicii released the song “Alcoholic” with the darkly, unapologetically aware lyrics, “Call it what you wanna call it, I’m a fucking alcoholic.”
The Miami hospitalization was a screaming sign, It’s time to do something different, or else you’re going to die.
“I’m happy I got that hospital visit now, ’cause if not I probably would have still kept going and in a year or two years probably something way worse could have happened. Something that’s irreversible. This is not irreversible at all. It was just kind of a wake-up call.” -Avicii
After all the signs of alcohol side effects on him, Avicii decided to end all his music tours. Excerpts from his retirement letter are as follows:
Thank you for letting me fulfill so many of my dreams. I will be forever grateful to have experienced and accomplished all that I have with the help of the team around me and my beloved fans.
Thank you to every fan who has ever bought a ticket or snuck in, bought a song or downloaded it, commented on posts or hated at them. Its your thoughts and ideas about the music that helped me evolve and I do owe everything I have to you.
My path has been filled with success but it hasn’t come without its bumps. I’ve become an adult while growing as an artist, I’ve come to know myself better and realize that there’s so much I want to do with my life. I have strong interests in different areas but there’s so little time to explore them.
Two weeks ago, I took the time to drive across the U.S. with my friends and team, to just look and see and think about things in a new way. It really helped me realize that I needed to make the change that I’d been struggling with for a while.
My choices and career have never been driven by material things, although I’m grateful for all the opportunities and comforts my success has availed me. I know I am blessed to be able to travel all around the world and perform, but I have too little left for the life of a real person behind the artist.
I will never let go of music — I will continue to speak to my fans through it, but I’ve decided this 2016 run will be my last tour and last shows. Let’s make them go out with a bang!
One part of me can never say never, I could be back …but I won’t be right back.
Tim took drastic action with a bold attempt to save and reclaim his own life. He slowed his ass down from a whirlwind of airports, Red Bull, shows, drinks, and airport food to an entirely different pace sprinkled with animals, friends, adventures in nature, and plenty of studio time, documented on his Instagram.
Avicii visited Africa where he celebrated his 27th birthday and had lots of fun on Africa’s island.
Avicii returned to Los Angeles, started a new lifestyle and shared love with his family.
Tim and his friends flew on to Peru to undergo a plant medicine journey in the Amazonian jungle:
Tim and his crew began their medicine journey with Kambo, also known as Sapo, during which poison is gently collected from an Amazonian tree frog and placed into small burned holes in the skin by a shaman — it is used for purging toxins, negative energy, and negative experiences from your body.
“To me it was something I had to do for my health (decision to quit touring). 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. 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.” -Avicii
Tim flew back to LA to release his new EP including “Lonely Together:”
“I just feel happy. I feel free at this point. Like I have my private life back and focusing on myself for the first time in a long time. So far it has paid off tremendously in terms of well-being for me. I’m happier than I have been in a very, very long time. Stress-free more than I have been in a very long time. I can’t say I’m never going to have a show again. I just don’t think I’m going to go back to the touring life.” -Avicii
Tim wrapped up 2017 camping in nature, “being home” in the studio, and with friends, wishing everyone a happy new year.
Early 2018, Tim continued creating, mixing and collaborating. He tagged it studiomode. Tim’s last post on Instagram was taken as he walked across the watery steps of his home in the Hollywood Hills.
Avicii last known picture was taken with his friends aboard a yacht off the Muscat coast.
Swedish Dj Avicii dies at 28.
May his gentle soul Rest In Peace 💔🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/3WygPZUiIK
— Music Plug (@MusicPlugAfrica) April 20, 2018
The next day, he was dead.
“It is with profound sorrow that we announce the loss of Tim Bergling, also known as Avicii. 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.”
The Cause of Avicii’s Death
A second statement released by the family of Tim has confirmed he committed suicide.
The statement, translated from Swedish, read:
‘Our beloved Tim was a seeker, a fragile artistic soul-searching for answers to existential questions. A overachieving perfectionist who traveled and worked hard at a pace that led to extreme stress. ‘When he stopped touring, he wanted to find a balance in life to be happy and be able to do what he loved most – music. ‘He really struggled with thoughts about Meaning, Life, Happiness. He could not go on any longer. He wanted to find peace. Tim was not made for the business machine he found himself in; he was a sensitive guy who loved his fans but shunned the spotlight. ‘Tim, you will forever be loved and sadly missed. The person you were and your music will keep your memory alive. ‘We love you, Your family.’
The essence of this post is to state that Avicii was a Black-Star — an astronomical term for a star that shines so brightly, it burns out and dies, leaving its mass behind.
We All Reach A Point In Our Lives And Careers Where We Understand What Matters The Most To Us – Avicii
Ultimately, it is not about how he died. It is about how he lived, why it matters, and what we can do about it.
Tim Bergling died at the age 28 in Muscat, Oman. Rest In Peace Tim Bergling.
Note: This post was defined by his recorded life activity on the internet and his Instagram life series.