Another life has been cut tragically short by mental illness. Electronic Dance Music (EDM) superstar Tim Bergling, known to the world as Avicii, was found dead last week in his hotel room in Muscat, Oman. He was just 28 years old. Avicii’s family released a statement a few days later, confirming that his death was a suicide. Translated from Swedish, part of the statement reads, “He really struggled with thoughts about meaning, life and 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.”
“I can’t tell where the journey will end, but I know where to start”
Avicii became extremely popular in the world of EDM because of his innovative and memorable songs coupled with big, bright live performances. He collaborated with many popular as well as up and coming music artists such as Madonna, Chris Martin, and Rita Ora, and eventually became well-known in the pop world after his hit song “Wake Me Up” topped the charts in 2013.
“I tried carrying the weight of the world, but I only have two hands”
In recent years, Avicii has taken a step back from the music scene and stopped touring. He openly struggled with mental and physical health issues. Due to excessive drinking, he had a scare with acute pancreatitis at the mere age of 21. “Yeah, I was drinking way too much, partying in general way too much,” he explained in a 2013 TIME Magazine interview. “Then I got a pancreatitis attack, which is very rare. So that forced me to do a 180 and stop drinking.”
He was also very public about the mental factors, such as anxiety, that contributed to his decision to retire from live performances for a bit. He told Rolling Stone in an interview last year, “It’s very easy to become too attached to partying. You become lonely and get anxieties. It becomes toxic.”
“So wake me up when it’s all over, when I’m wiser and I’m older”
Avicii assured his fans that he would be working on new music privately but needed a break from the touring lifestyle. On his social media accounts, he posted, “We all reach a point in our lives and careers where we understand what matters the most to us. For me it’s creating music. That is what I live for, what I feel I was born to do.”
Many people were puzzled by Avicii’s choice to stop touring, especially since he had been releasing hit after hit and his fan base had grown larger than ever before after crossing over in to the world of pop music. “The decision I made might seem off to some, but everyone is different and for me this was the right one,” he commented on social media.
“All this time I was finding myself, and I didn’t know I was lost”
Avicii’s lyrics so poignantly depicted the struggles of someone swept up in a world of partying and persisting mental health issues. His internal conflicts all came out on when his pen hit the paper. We can learn a lesson from this man’s life though: he was dealing with severe consequences due to substance abuse and decided to place healing as his top priority. Avicii could have easily justified continuing a lifestyle of alcohol and party drugs while touring, but he publicly reached out for help and took time to focus on getting better. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse, mental health issues, or suicidal thoughts, there is no shame in reaching out and help is only a call or click away.
“’Cause it’s not too late, it’s not too late, I see the hope in your heart. And sometimes you lose it, sometimes you’re shooting broken arrows in the dark, but I see the hope in your heart.” -Avicii, Broken Arrows.