Marie Fredriksson, the lead singer of the phenomenally popular Swedish duo Roxette, has died at 61 following a long battle with cancer, The Guardian reports.
Fredriksson had battled cancer for 17 years, ever since a seizure in 2002 left her with a cracked skull, leading to a diagnosis of brain cancer. Doctors gave her a one in four chance of survival, and while she did beat the odds, her health was never the same. She managed to perform until 2016, when health considerations led Roxette to call off a planned European tour.
Her family confirmed her death in a statement to the Swedish publication Expressen, saying, "It is with great sadness that we have to announce that one of our biggest and most beloved artists is gone."
Her partner in Roxette, Per Gessle, said in a statement, "Time goes by so fast. It feels like just recently when Marie and I were sitting in my little apartment in Halmstad sharing dreams. And what a fantastic dream we got to share! Thank you Marie, thank you for everything. You were a truly unique musician, a singer on a level we will hardly ever experience again. You painted my black and white songs with the most beautiful colours."
Successful in Sweden in the late '80s, Roxette became a rare word-of-mouth success in the U.S. when an exchange student brought their album back to Minnesota and gave it to a radio DJ.
The band released 10 albums, becoming an international sensation with such singles as the #1 smashes "The Look" (1989), "Listen to Your Heart" (1989), "It Must Have Been Love" (1990) from the "Pretty Woman" soundtrack, and "Joyride" (1991).
Having enjoyed moderate solo success prior to the formation of Roxette, Fredriksson continued to release solo work throughout her life, including eight albums of her own.
Fredriksson is survived by her husband, music producer Mikael Bolyos, and their two children.