I was in high school when it happened. I had just eaten lunch and was ready for the second half of my school day. One of my friends in my next class called my name. She said, “Hey, you like Avicii, right?” I said yes. It was then that she told me that he had just died.
A million thoughts raced through my head. How did he die? Was it a car crash? Alcohol intoxication? Drug overdose? How did my favorite artist who changed the scene of electronic dance music (EDM) with his memorable melodies—ones that got stuck in my head—die so young?
I later found out that it was an apparent suicide.
This all happened on April 20, 2018; about a year ago today.
For those of you who don’t know Tim Bergling, who went by the stage name Avicii, he was a Grammy-nominated Swedish EDM producer and DJ whose songs include “Wake Me Up,” “Hey Brother,” “Without You” and the club classic “Levels.” He produced electronic songs that were different in terms of style and lyrics and left a mark on me as someone whose songs I can go to whatever my mood might be.
Avicii had been through a lot during his music career. Ever since he released “Levels” back in 2011, his life was filled with constant touring until eventually he quit DJing all together in 2016 for health reasons. It was then that I realized that something was wrong with him not just physically but mentally.
It was clear that his lifestyle was affecting him in a negative way. No matter how rich or famous you are, one person can only handle so much stress and work. Suicide was his breaking point.
One year later, I am still devastated about his death. His death reminds me that not everyone is perfect and that even if someone looks happy on the outside, he or she may be struggling on the inside. Depression and anxiety do not care about your class, wealth or success, they will affect you regardless.
A year of reflection has made me a better person and has made me realize how big of an issue mental health is. If someone like Avicii, who had retired from touring to help with his health and had immense popularity and fame, can still struggle internally, then clearly we all need to increase awareness of mental health issues.
A lot of questions were left unanswered about his mental health when he died. Fortunately, some of those questions may be answered.
His final studio album is being released in early June and is simply titled “Tim.” This new album may reveal his thoughts before he committed suicide. The lyrics will have a different meaning as we try to figure out what was going on through his mind in his final moments.
His family also created the Tim Bergling Foundation to help raise awareness for mental health and suicide prevention.
Yes, I miss Avicii a lot. But I know that his music and his legacy will live on forever. We could not prevent his death, but we can prevent others from committing suicide by reaching out to those in need.
Seeking help should not be frowned upon. We must all do our part to ensure that everyone feels as great as they can be.
Christian Reyna is a first-year biomedical engineering major who is also minoring in Spanish. He absolutely loves dogs and probably procrastinated in writing this article.