In retrospect, maybe the warning signs were obvious.
Avicii’s meteoric rise to fame came at an extreme cost, even though the DJ was trying to save himself. Just last week, Avicii (aka Tim Bergling) lost that battle: while vacationing in Oman, Bergling suddenly passed away, with authorities narrowing the causes of death to a substance-related collapse or suicide.
Leading up to that tragedy, however, Avicii was repeatedly warning others that he was overworked, burnt out, and facing serious health consequences. He was even issuing warnings about the possibility of death.
Bergling talked about the pressures he faced in a recently-released documentary, Avicii: True Stories. Bergling maintained a relentless touring schedule for years, with constant travel, non-stop booze, and little sleep. The film was released in theaters at the tail end of 2017.
Avicii’s grueling, multi-year schedule came to a halt in 2016. But shortly after his self-imposed retirement, the pop-DJ described the relentless pressure to get back on the road.
“I have said, ‘Like, I’m going to die’. I have said it so many times.”
“When I decided to stop, I expected something completely different,” Bergling stated. “I expected support, particularly considering everything I have been through. And I have been very open with everyone I work with, and everyone who knows me.
“I have said, ‘Like, I’m going to die’. I have said it so many times. And so I don’t want to hear that I should entertain the thought of doing another gig.
“I have told them this. I won’t be able to play anymore.”
Avicii’s decision to retire followed numerous medical emergencies and surgeries.
In 2012, at age 21, Bergling was treated for acute pancreatitis, prompted by heavy alcohol intake. In 2013, the DJ suffered acute abdominal pains and was rushed to the hospital for treatment.
By 2014, doctors were forced to remove Bergling’s gallbladder and appendix, signaling a deteriorating medical situation.
Those scares prompted the early retirement, though Bergling still remained committed to making music. He even conducted interviews, including the ominous discussion with True Stories director Levan Tsikurishvili.
Throughout, the film offered a closer look at the spotlight that Bergling enjoyed — or despised. Between 2008 and 2016, Avicii played an estimated 813 shows.
And it was the last gigs that were the hardest. In the film, the DJ is shown struggling with extreme anxiety — and even a panic attack — just before a performance in Las Vegas. “I’m going to panic, I’m going to panic, for real, I wont be able to do it, it won’t work.”
Avicii: True Stories was recently available on Netflix, but may have been pulled recently following the DJ’s death. Either way, here’s a quick trailer — which even features Obama.