Avicii’s father opens up about labelling his son’s death a suicide: ‘You should call things what they are’

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Avicii’s father opens up about labelling his son’s death a suicide: ‘You should call things what they are’
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Klas Bergling, the father of the late DJ Avicii, has opened up about the musician’s death.

Swedish electronic dance music DJ Avicii – real name Tim Bergling – died in 2018 in Oman aged 28.

“It’s obvious there were things I didn’t see,” Bergling told The Sunday Times.

In the interview Bergling highlights the importance of using the word suicide. “I think you should call things what they are,” he said.

Speaking about the circumstances surrounding his son’s death, Bergling recalled receiving a phone call from someone who had been on holiday with Avicii in Oman. They had called to stay they were concerned about the musician’s mental state.

Before his parents – Bergling and Anki Liden – could fly to Oman, Bergling received another call alerting him to his son’s death.

“It’s fame and fortune, and that’s a very dangerous combination,” he said, adding: “When you have an up-and-coming artist there should be some structure.”

Bergling was clear, however, that he did not see his son’s manager, Arash Pournouri – whom Avicii had worked with from the age of 18 – to blame for his health problems.

In 2016, Avicii retired from live performing due to health reasons. He had suffered from acute pancreatitis partly due to excessive drinking. In 2014, he had his gallbladder and appendix removed.

 (Getty)
(Getty)

“He was a shy person. He wasn’t the one that went into a room with lots of people and started talking or holding speeches,” said Bergling, stating that it eventually “became a problem” when he began to rely on alcohol.

A documentary about the DJ’s career, titled Avicii: True Stories, was released in 2017. It chronicled his final world tour and saw him open up about his reliance on alcohol.

“In the beginning I was too afraid to drink because I didn’t want to screw up,” Avicii said in the documentary. “But then I realised how stiff I was when I wasn’t drinking. So then I found the magical cure of just having a couple of drinks before going on.”

 (Rex)
(Rex)

As per The Times’ article, the musician’s family and friends staged an intervention in 2015 to address his struggles with alcohol as well as drugs, which included pain killers, sedatives, anti-anxiety medication and antidepressants.

“I saw in his eyes that he understood something was going on,” Bergling recalled. “It was one of the worst moments of my life because you really feel you’ve betrayed your son. But it had to be done. It was naive. I’ve heard a thousand times that the fight starts when you’re sober.”

Avicii entered a rehabilitation clinic, after which he returned to performing, However, he continued to struggle with mental health issues.

In March 2017, he posted an open letter on his website announcing his retirement from touring. Two years later, he died by suicide in Oman aged 28.

Avicii was best known for hit songs including “Wake Me Up” and “Levels”. His 2013 debut album True made the top 10 in 10 different countries. He received two Grammy nominations and was regularly listed in the top five of Forbes’s list of highest-paid DJs before his retirement.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, the Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.

If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction, you can seek confidential help and support 24-7 from Frank, by calling 0300 123 6600, texting 82111, sending an email or visiting their website here.

In the US, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can be reached at 1-800-662-HELP.

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