Marie Fredriksson, Singer Of Roxette Has Died, Aged 61

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Marie Fredriksson, Singer Of Roxette Has Died, Aged 61

marie fredriksson
Marie Fredriksson. Image by Mattias Edwall.

Marie Fredriksson, the powerhouse vocalist of Roxette, has died aged 61 following a long illness. A statement from Fredriksson’s manager said the singer had died on Tuesday (local time) “following a 17-year long battle with cancer”.

The Swedish star, alongside bandmate Per Gessle, achieved global success in the 1980s and 1990s with a succession of massive international hits, including “The Look”, "It Must Have Been Love", "Listen to Your Heart" and "Joyride".

Fredriksson's management agency, Dimberg Jernberg confirmed the sad news in a statement: "It is with great sadness that we have to announce that one of our biggest and most beloved artists is gone."

“Marie leaves us a grand musical legacy. 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.”

Her Roxette bandmate, Per Gessle, also issued a statement on social media paying tribute to his musical partner, saying: “Time goes by so quickly. It’s not that long ago we spent days and nights in my tiny apartment in Halmstad, listening to music we loved, sharing impossible dreams. And what a dream we eventually got to share!”

He continued: “Thank you, Marie, thanks for everything. You were an outstanding musician, a master of the voice, an amazing performer. Thanks for painting my black-and-white songs in the most beautiful colors. You were the most wonderful friend for over 40 years. I’m proud, honored, and happy to have been able to share so much of your time, talent, warmth, generosity, and sense of humor. All my love goes out to you and your family. Things will never be the same.”



Fredriksson formed Roxette with bandmate, Per Gessle in 1986. The pair would go on to record 10 studio albums, packed with soaring, feel-good pop tunes that saw them sell a staggering 80 million albums worldwide. They were hugely popular in Australia, where they scored three number ones, “The Look”, “It Must Have Been Love” and “Joyride”.

Roxette | “Joyride”

When Fredriksson and Gessle first launched the band, they found quick success in their home country with debut single, “Neverending Love” from their first album, Pearls of Passion. International success would soon follow, thanks to a remarkable twist of fate – an American exchange student studying in Sweden was so enamoured by the band’s hit “The Look,” he bought a copy of 1988’s Look Sharp! to take back to America. After he passed the recording on to a DJ in Minneapolis, “The Look” found itself in the No 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.

Roxette | “The Look”

Look Sharp! also produced another US No 1, “Listen to Your Heart,” and a Number Two, “Dangerous.”  But perhaps Roxette were best known for their smash hit power ballad, “It Must Have Been Love” which featured on the 1990 soundtrack for the film, Pretty Woman.

Roxette | “It Must Have Been Love” 

The title track from their 1991 album, Joyride, also hit No 1 in America and Australia, followed by, “Fading Like a Flower (Every Time You Leave)” which climbed to the Number Two spot.

In September 2002, Fredriksson was diagnosed with a brain tumour after she complained of feeling unwell while out jogging with her husband. She returned home and collapsed in the bathroom, where she hit her head against the sink, suffering an epileptic seizure. After her diagnosis, she was given just a 25 per cent chance of survival. The aggressive treatment she received that took its toll but ultimately was successful. With an exceptionally strong fighting spirit, Marie made a gradual return to the world’s stages by 2009 after she went to see Gessle perform a solo show in Holland and made an impromptu guest appearance. 

"She had no self-confidence, and said she couldn’t sing anymore,” Gessle told the Guardian in 2012. “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.” 

The unlikely second coming of Roxette resulted in three more albums, with their final album, Good Karma, released in June 2016. They subsequently toured Australia in 2012 and, for the final time, in 2015. Marie dug deep to overcome the many rigours of touring, but by 2016, Maries doctors advised her to stop touring and focus on her health. 

Recalling Fredriksson’s determination to keep performing in a 2016 interview with I Like Your Old Stuff, Per Gessle told us: “No, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen anymore. It’s a shame, but on the other hand, I try to think about it from a different angle. When Marie got ill in 2002 everyone – including me – expected the band to be totally over. Since we had a comeback in 2010, we’ve done 280 shows. It’s amazing that Marie has been able to do that, so I try to think about it from the perspective of the 280 shows we gained.”

Since 1984, Fredriksson also enjoyed a successful solo career and continued to release solo projects even after Roxette became an international phenomenon. The singer released eight solo albums in total, three of which topped the Swedish charts – she scored her first chart-topping solo single in 2008 with Dr Du Andas. In May 2018, she released a new single, “Sing Me a Song” to mark her 60th birthday.

Marie Fredriksson | “Sing Me a Song”

Marie Fredriksson is survived by her husband, music producer Mikael Bolyos, who she married in 1994, and their two children, Josefin Bolyos, 26, and Oscar Bolyos, 23. She was undoubtedly one of pop’s brightest stars and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts go out to her family and friends at this sad time.

Remember the incredible legacy of Marie Fredriksson with our article detailing Roxette’s Australian chart success:

Roxette's Australian Chart Joyride.

And our 2016 interview with Per Gessle:

Roxette Look Back On A 30 Year Joyride.

Listen to This is Roxette on Spotify:

Listen to the Roxette Essentials on Apple Music:

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