The late Avicii
Image: Courtesy

On April 20, 2018, the world lost a music superstar, chart-topping DJ Avicii. Aged just 28, he tragically took his own life while on holiday in Oman.

For Klas Bergling, he lost his son, Tim.

"I miss him every minute," Klas Bergling shares over a candid, deeply personal video call. "Of course, I talk to him every day. But," he pauses, "I admit, I get angry at him sometimes. Why did you do it? Why did you leave us?"

 

Avicii rose to fame as explosively as the bouncing synths on his breakout smash Levels.

The 2011 hit, joyously sampling Etta James' "good feeling" refrain, catapulted the then 22-year-old Swede to pop superstardom.

Over the next five years, as club dance music evolved into the ubiquitous, chart-topping genre known as EDM, with Levels as its anthem, Avicii became its blond, high-cheekboned poster boy - reportedly earning $250,000 (£180,000) a night on tour.

 

But at 26, he retired from live shows. In a personal note to fans, he referenced his physical and mental health without detailing the full extent of his struggles, which involved anxiety, pancreatitis, alcohol and painkiller addiction.

Despite a period of recovery - producing music away from the spotlight - Tim continued to struggle with inner demons in his search for existential answers about his life. Two years later, the darkness overcame him a final, fatal time.

Now, his family wants people to know Tim beyond the stage lights, releasing a picture book to honour his legacy. It’s part of the the family's efforts through the Tim Bergling Foundation, set up in his memory in 2019, to open up the conversation around the mental health crisis among young people.

Klas, who carefully curated the pictures from Tim's childhood to his superstar life, explains: "We want to help people see beyond the Avicii fame. That's also why we named his posthumous album 'Tim.'"

Reflecting on the deep connection fans still feel, shown by the thousands of letters and memoriam messages on his website, Klas says: “Tim meant a lot to young people - his music, his lyrics, and his person.

"At first, I didn’t understand why, but then a fan said, 'Tim was authentic.' I understood. Many young people relate to that authenticity, his honesty, and struggles."

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Counselors, medics, and psychologists advise that you can always reach out for help when experiencing any mental health issues. Call Kenya Red Cross toll-free hotline, 1199 for support.