Vocalist Marie Fredriksson, co-founder of Swedish pop duo Roxette, died Monday after a 17-year battle with cancer, her management company confirmed. She was 61.
Her Roxette bandmate, Per Gessle, shared his respects on Tuesday. "Time goes by so quickly. 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," he said in a statement.
Gessle continued, "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 colors. You were the most wonderful friend for over 40 years. I’m proud, honored and happy to have been able to share so much of your time, talent, warmth, generosity and sense of humor. All my love goes out to you and your family. Things will never be the same."
Fredriksson and Gessle became friends in the 80's, and they eventually teamed up to debut as pop act Roxette with the single "Never Ending Love." However, it wasn't they released "The Look" from their second album Look Sharp! in 1989 that they broke through internationally, soaring to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Their single "It Must Have Been Love" also rose to international fame when it was featured in the 1990 romantic-comedy film "Pretty Woman," starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.
"She owned the stage, commanded the band and had the audience in the palm of her hand," her management team described in her obituary. "As great as she was in the studio, the stage was her natural habitat. This unique artistry and energy helped to create a lasting bond between her and millions of passionate fans around the globe."
With a reputation for her compelling stage presence and vocals that often moved crowds to tears, Fredriksson started her career in music in her youth, persevering until she sold around 80 million albums with Roxette.
The singer was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2002, but she continued performing and recording until she was forced to take a medical leave of absence and cancel her summer tour with Gessle in 2016.
Fredriksson recalled to the Swedish magazine Vi about staying positive despite ongoing health complications in 2015, "When things were at their most difficult... even if nobody else believed in me, I believed in myself. Felt I had to."
Fredriksson is survived by her husband Mikael Bolyos and her two children Josefin and Oscar. The funeral will occur in silence with only close family members present.