She was diagnosed with cancer in 2002 and struggled with the disease until 2019, when she died. She is survived by her husband and children, and a legacy of music that will continue to live on.
Roxette singer Marie Fredriksson passed away aged 61 earlier in December 2019 due to ill health after a 17-year-old long battle with cancer. She left a legacy of music, a husband, two children, and a bandmate Per Gessle. For the Must Have Been Love singer, it is really over now that she's gone. Long before she was gone, her debilitating disease took a lot from her and she eventually had to stop doing what she loved — perform.
Roxette, a Swedish band, skyrocketed in the 1980s as they became famous across continents. Meanwhile, Fredriksson was gaining momentum as a solo artist as well. They faced an ebb and flow in their fame in the late 90s. Their 2001 album Room Service and previous albums all turned out to be Number One in Sweden, according to Rolling Stone. But, on the personal front, things started going downhill in 2002 for the singer.
Fredriksson's battle with cancer began on September 11, 2002, according to Mirror UK. She had gone for a run with her husband, keyboardist Mikael Bolyos. When she returned home, she complained of feeling unwell and suddenly lost sight in her right eye. Terrified and exhausted, she wanted to lie down but on the way to the bathroom she fainted and hit her head on the sink on the way down. She hit her head so hard that she had an epileptic seizure.
She was taken to the hospital where it was found within the week that she has a malignant brain tumor. She had not just lost sight in one eye but also had limited hearing. She was given a 25% chance of surviving, according to Express UK. The tumor needed an aggressive treatment plan including surgery, months of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
She lost her hair, which she did not lament. "You feel sick, but I thought it was pretty neat, I looked pretty raw. And it will come back. I've always been short-haired so it was no big deal," she said in a TV documentary in 2004, according to Mirror UK. But that's not all she lost. She could not read, write, count, or speak for many months. Eventually, she received an all-clear in 2003.
"It's been three very difficult years, but I'm healthy," she told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, via Mirror UK. "I don't get any treatment anymore."
By 2004, she was writing music again and released a solo album The Change. She kept working on her music and by 2009 she could perform live again, says Rolling Stone. She again had the energy to bring back Roxette and go on tour. The She's Got The Look singer and her bandmate, Gessle, released three albums - Charm School (2011), Travelling (2012), and Good Karma (2016).
2016 became the last year that she was able to perform but eventually they had to cancel their tour. The effects of her illness remained and the Roxette 30th anniversary tour was just canceled. Fredriksson wrote on Facebook, "Sadly, now my touring days are over and I want to take this opportunity to thank our wonderful fans that has followed us on our long and winding journey," according to Express UK.
In her autobiography, Kärleken ill livet (Listen to my heart), the silver-haired singer said, "At last, it feels like I have reconciled myself to having a radiation injury to live with. That this is how it turned out. I have lost many years through the disease. And it is also a sadness to age. But every day I think I’m grateful to be sitting here. And that I can still sing."
Her 2018 single, Sing Me A Song, became her last song and a eulogy to herself. Talking about her mortality, she sang, "The love I had and gave / Makes it hard to say goodbye."