Roxette lead singer Marie Fredriksson, a musician who “painted songs in the most beautiful colours”, has died 17 years after first being diagnosed with a brain tumour.
The Swedish star, who formed the chart-topping band with Per Gessle in 1986, died on Monday morning aged 61, her management said.
Roxette were best known for hits including Joyride, The Look and power ballad It Must Have Been Love, which featured in the soundtrack for Pretty Woman, starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.
Paying tribute, Gessle said things “would never be the same” without his bandmate.
Time goes by so quickly. It’s not that long ago we spent days+nights in my tiny apartment sharing impossible dreams. And what a dream we eventually got to share! I’m honoured to have met your talent+generosity. All my love goes to you+your family. Things will never be the same. pic.twitter.com/CTegAUGrXG
— Per Gessle (@PartyPleaser) December 10, 2019
“Time goes by so quickly,” he said. “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!
“Thank you, Marie, thanks for everything. 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. I’m proud, honoured and happy to have been able to share so much of your time, talent, warmth, generosity and sense of humour.
“All my love goes out to you and your family.”
Fredriksson, a mother-of-two, underwent treatment which was “aggressive” but successful after being diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2002.
She was left blind in one eye, with limited hearing and mobility, and was unable to speak for a considerable period of time afterwards.
But over the years she was able to make a gradual return to the world stage, and by 2009, she started performing again.
Roxette went on to release three more albums following a 10-year break.
“During the comeback years, Marie was an amazing trooper, overcoming the many rigours of touring in order to meet her fans on stage again and again,” her agency, Dimberg Jernberg Management, said. “But by 2016, the show was finally over when Marie’s doctors advised her to stop touring and focus on her health.”
Paying tribute, her management said in a statement: “Marie leaves us a grand musical legacy. Her amazing voice – both strong and sensitive – and her magical live performances will be remembered by all of us lucky enough to witness them.
“But we also remember a wonderful person with a huge appetite for life, and woman with a very big heart who cared for everybody she met.”
Roxette released their debut album, Pearls Of Passion, in 1986, charting at number two in Sweden.
It was their second album, Look Sharp!, which went on to secure the duo international success, with singles The Look and Listen To Your Heart topping the charts in the US in 1989.
When It Must Have Been Love was edited and re-released for the Pretty Woman soundtrack in 1990, it reached number three in the UK and number one once again in America.
Fans have been paying tribute on social media
Success continued with albums including Joyride, Tourism and Crash! Boom! Bang!.
Following their comeback, the band released their eighth album, Charm School, in 2011, followed by Travelling in 2012 and Good Karma in 2016.
Roxette sold an estimated 75 million records worldwide across 10 studio albums, according to Official Charts in the UK.
In total, they had 19 Top 40 songs in the UK, six of which reached the Top 10.
Fredriksson leaves behind her husband Mikael Bolyos and her two children, Josefin and Oscar.