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Roxette singer Marie Fredriksson dies at age 61

Marie Fredriksson, one half of the 1980s and ’90s pop-sensation duo Roxette, has died at the age of 61 after a long illness.

 “It is with great sadness that we have to announce that one of our biggest and most beloved artists is gone,” her family said in a statement to the Swedish newspaper Expressen.

Fredriksson and her musical partner Per Gessle skyrocketed to international fame in the late 1980s with one commercially successful song after another. The Swedish duo had four hits in the U.S: “The Look,” “Listen to Your Heart,” “Joyride,” and “It must have been Love.” They helped launch the pair to worldwide fame in a career where they would release 10 studio albums.

“Time goes by so quickly,” Gessle wrote on Twitter,

“It’s not that long ago we spent days+nights in my tiny apartment sharing impossible dreams. And what a dream we eventually got to share! I’m honoured to have met your talent+generosity. All my love goes to you+your family. Things will never be the same.”

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Fredriksson’s health problems were first diagnosed after she had a seizure, fell, and cracked her skull in 2002. An MRI scan showed a brain tmour. At the time, doctors only gave her a 25 percent chance of survival. She underwent radiation therapy and recovered, but the treatment led to other health complications.

Despite her poor health, Fredriksson didn’t give up her singing career. She performed until 2016.

Roxette were well-known in Sweden before their international fame. But it was not until an exchange student took one of their albums to a radio station in Minneapolis that they exploded to worldwide fame. In addition to her career with Roxette, Fredriksson also had a successful solo career. She recorded eight albums with three chart-toppers in her native Sweden. 

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Gessle says that while Fredriksson continued to perform during her ill-health, it did take a toll on her.

“She had no self confidence, and said she couldn’t sing any more,” Gessle told the Guardian in 2012 about a show they performed in Europe. 

“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.”

Her management company Dimberg Jernberg also released a statement after learning of Fredriksson’s death.

“Marie leaves us a grand musical legacy,” Newsweek reported. 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.”

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Fredriksson stopped singing in 2016, saying that she was ending her career on doctors’ advice. 

“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,” she said.

Fredricksson is survived by Mikael Bolyos, a music producer, and their two adult children.

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