To his millions of fans, he was Avicii - music producer and DJ extraordinaire who created some of the most anthemic dance music of recent years. But behind the global superstar DJ was Tim Bergling, an anxious boy from Sweden who first saw a therapist at the age of 14 and was happiest in his room playing World of Warcraft with his mates.
In 2018, Bergling tragically took his own life. His story has since become one used to warn of the evils of fame, money and the music industry, but it is much more than that, as the Swedish journalist Måns Mossesson is keen to point out. He was given extraordinary access by Tim’s parents to the artist’s friends, family and colleagues, as well as his texts and emails to write his biography of the DJ.
Speaking to Bryony Gordon on her Mad World podcast, which you can listen to using the audio player at the top of this article, Mossesson says "I think that was one of my first revelations, it came quite early on in this process of writing the book. I think that I had the idea, as I'm sure that a lot of fans had had the idea, that Tim was this well-off, happy-go-lucky guy who was just thrust into a mad evil industry that that sort of kills people.
"And there is some truth to that, of course. Once you get to his level, it's really insane how much the workload becomes unbearable, and it is a dirty industry in a lot of ways. But as soon as I started to talk to childhood friends, to his parents, it became clear quite quickly that this is also a guy that had been struggling with anxiety for a long time and could have a hard time just going on like a social function amongst his own friends, you know?
"I would be doing Tim a disservice, I think, if I didn't show that nuance, paint the grey areas."
Mossesson has done considerably work with Anki and Klas, Tim’s parents. They set up the Tim Bergling Foundation in their son’s memory, which advocates for the recognition of suicide as a global health emergency.
"Obviously the fans didn't realise how much he was struggling until his passing. But I think with Tim's music, you could sense a person in each of his tracks, a person speaking to me behind the baseline, behind the drums. Tim's vulnerability in his tracks."
You can listen to the full conversation with Måns Mosesson on Bryony Gordon’s Mad World podcast using the audio player at the top of this article, or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favourite podcast app.