(By Sonia Rao, Washington Post)

Marie Fredriksson, half of the Swedish pop-rock duo Roxette, died Monday at 61. Her management team confirmed in a statement that Fredriksson’s death followed a 17-year-long battle with cancer…

“Thank you, Marie, thanks for everything,” bandmate Per Gessle wrote in an emotional statement. “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 colours. You were the most wonderful friend for over 40 years.”

Fredriksson and Gessle had established careers in Sweden before teaming up to form Roxette in 1986, a decision that would soon boost them to worldwide fame. They broke out with their second album, “Look Sharp!,” which came out in 1988 and the next year landed two No. 1 songs, “The Look” and “Listen to Your Heart,” on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. “It Must Have Been Love,” a 1990 single from the “Pretty Woman” soundtrack, and “Joyride,” the titular single of the duo’s 1991 album, peaked at No. 1 as well.

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“A singer with a sob in her voice”

In 1992, the New York Times described Fredriksson as Roxette’s “main asset,” and “a singer with a sob in her voice, a platinum-blond Billy Idol hairdo and a taste for skin-tight costumes.” In addition to the Roxette discography, Fredriksson released eight solo albums, a few topping Swedish charts. Her latest single, “Sing Me a Song,” was released in May 2018 around the time of her 60th birthday.

Roxette took a hiatus beginning in 2002 when Fredriksson was diagnosed with a severe brain tumour and received treatment that, per her management’s statement, “took its toll but ultimately was successful.” They reunited during one of Gessle’s solo shows in 2009, eventually putting out three more albums and embarking on multiple concert tours under the Neverending World Tour umbrella.

“She had no self-confidence, and said she couldn’t sing anymore,” Gessle told the Guardian in 2012 of his and Fredriksson’s impromptu reunion. “But she staggered up on stage anyway – and the audience just died. There were about 1,200 in the audience and people were crying to the left and right.”

Tour cancelled

The final leg of the Neverending World Tour was cancelled in 2016 after Roxette issued a statement saying that Fredriksson’s physicians had advised her against touring due to her poor health. At the time, she wrote that she felt “nothing but joy and happiness when I look back on the Roxette world tours.”

In the statement issued after Fredriksson’s death, Gessle added that he was “proud, honoured and happy to have been able to share so much of (her) time, talent, warmth, generosity and sense of humour.”

“Time goes by so quickly,” he wrote. “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!”

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Author: ANA Newswire