Marie Fredriksson, the lead singer of Roxette, the Swedish pop duo that made waves in the 1980s and 1990s, died on Monday. She was 61.
Her management team, Dimberg Jernberg, did not specify the cause of her death, but said in a statement on Tuesday that Ms. Fredriksson had struggled with cancer after being diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2002.
Ms. Fredriksson and the singer-songwriter Per Gessle formed Roxette in 1986, and fame in Sweden came swiftly after the release of their debut single, “Neverending Love.” But it was “The Look,” a strutting 1989 single, heavy on electric guitars and synthesizer, that took Roxette onto the international stage.
“The Look” became the duo’s first No. 1 single on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, and songs like “Listen To Your Heart” and “Joyride” quickly followed. The duo became particularly known for soft rock ballads like “It Must Have Been Love,” a song that featured on the soundtrack for “Pretty Woman,” the 1990 romantic comedy starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.
“Roxette’s main asset is Marie Fredriksson, a singer with a sob in her voice, a platinum-blond Billy Idol hairdo and a taste for skin-tight costumes,” the critic Jon Pareles wrote in The New York Times in 1992, in an otherwise scathing review of the band’s New York debut. At the time, Roxette had had six hits in the Top 10 since 1988.
Though their biggest successes were born in the 1980s and 1990s, Roxette’s popularity proved long-lasting. The band released new albums and toured again from 2009 to 2016, and videos of their songs have attracted millions of views on YouTube.
Marie Fredriksson was born on May 30, 1958, in Skane County in southern Sweden. In her late teens, she moved to Halmstad, a nearby port city, and played in two bands, Strul and MaMas Barn, before launching a solo career in 1984, according to her website.
She is survived by her husband, Mikael Bolyos, and two children, Josefin and Oscar.
In a statement on Tuesday, Mr. Gessle paid tribute to Ms. Fredriksson as “an outstanding musician, a master of the voice, an amazing performer,” and added, “Thanks for painting my black-and-white songs in the most beautiful colors.”
“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.”
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