Rest in Peace Avicii

Earlier this month the surprise death of Swedish superstar DJ Avicii stunned the world. Longtime fans such as myself asked, “How could it be that one of most talented musical minds of this generation has passed away so soon?” His family, who knows him better by his full name Tim Bergling, released a statement alluding to suicide as the possible cause of death, including:

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 could go on about the endless great memories that his music has provided a backdrop to over the last seven years of my life, including incredible shows in NYC, SF, and Miami. However, I want to share one story that speaks to his kind and friendly spirit, and that has also revived my belief that it is possible to succeed at the top of your field while still being “genuinely nice”:

Last July my family and I were traveling in Peru when we happened to bump into Tim and his childhood friends from Stockholm. An otherwise routine bus ride to an aircraft parking stand at the Lima airport turned into shock when I looked behind my right shoulder. I saw what I believed to be an incredibly familiar face. Next, I noticed a hoodie, Yeezy’s, blonde hair, and a sleeve tattoo on the left arm. Tim and his crew did not exactly blend in with their LA attire.

While on the bus, I quickly whispered to my sister that I think Avicii is on our flight to Cuzco, and I asked her to check his Instagram to see if he’s recently posted from Peru. Sure enough, he had been sharing photos from his South American trip, and as we boarded I was able to verify via Google that he did indeed have an intricate tattoo on his left arm.

So, by the time we landed in Cuzco and made our way to the baggage claim, I approached two of Tim’s friends to verify it was him. Yes! They went on to disclose that, like my family, they were making their way to Cuzco as a launching point for their long trek to Machu Picchu, located deep in the Peruvian Andes. We asked Tim for a photo once he caught up with the rest of the group, and he replied, “of course”, in a tone that communicated he was grateful we had even asked. He talked with us about his trip for a couple of minutes with his friends before shuttling off to their hotel.

While this moment was just a spec in the arc of his life, it was a telling one, filled with friendliness and warmth — to complete strangers who could offer nothing more than a smile and a hug in exchange for a few minutes of his time.

Tim, like your family at home in Sweden has remarked, your worldwide family of fans will forever love and sadly miss the person you were. Your music will forever be a tribute to and inspiration of your spirit.

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John Marbach

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04 2018

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