Roxette: ‘It Must Have Been Love’ Singer Marie Fredriksson Passes Away

Alongside ABBA and Ace of Base, Roxette was one of the most iconic pop groups in history of Sweden. Not only were they extremely popular in their home country – they also garnered a major following abroad. Founding member Marie Fredriksson passed away on Dec. 9, 2019. Here are the details behind her life and untimely death.

Per Gessle (left) and Marie Fredriksson (right) of Roxette | Fryderyk Gabowicz/picture alliance via Getty Images

The early history of Roxette

Roxette had two members: Fredriksson and songwriter Per Gessle. Fredriksson grew up in a small town, NPR reports. Her father was a mailman while her mother worked in a factory. Her father would often sing to her when she was a child. This habit had a major impact on her.

According to AllMusic, Frederiksson and Gessle met in the late 1970s, but it wasn’t until 1986 that they formed a band and released their first single – “Neverending Love.” Their debut album, Pearls of Passion, did fine in Sweden but not elsewhere.

Roxette breaks through

The band didn’t become a major force in the world of pop until the release of Look Sharp!, their sophomore album. Look Sharp! embraced the then-dominant subgenre of soft rock. The album title was fitting, as the duo were known for their head-turning outfits. Frederiksson was instantly recognizable to fans due to her short blonde haircut, which was reminiscent of Annie Lennox’s look at the time.

Marie Fredriksson and Per Gesslein in 1989 | Fryderyk Gabowicz/picture alliance via Getty Images

According to AllMusic, the album produced four major hits: “Dangerous,” “The Look,” “Dress for Success” and “Listen to Your Heart.” “Listen to Your Heart” was arguably the most significant of the bunch. Not only was the song successful upon its first release, a cover of it by DHT was also popular. DHT’s version of “Listen to Your Heart” proved the song was so powerful it could connect to listeners in multiple genres.

The group’s follow-up album, Joyride, was also a major hit. The title track became a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100. This means Roxette are one of very few Swedish acts to have reached the top spot of the American charts.

Roxette’s next album, Crash! Boom! Bang!, was also appropriately-titled. The group’s commercial success crashed to a halt in the United States from that point onward, though they remained prominent on the European charts.

Marie Frederiksson’s life threatening illness

Marie Fredriksson | Gie Knaeps/Getty Images

The group continued releasing music until 2002, reports People. That year, Roxette went on hiatus because Frederiksson was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The tumor was removed, though this caused her to lose sight in one of her eyes. The band reunited in 2009 for a world tour.

Cancer ultimately took the singer’s life. Gessle mourned her death, writing “Time goes by so quickly. It’s not that long ago we spent days+nights in my tiny apartment sharing impossible dreams.”

He added “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.”

Her management group, Dimberg Jernberg Management. said “Her amazing voice — both strong and sensitive — and her magical live performances will be remembered by all of us who [were] lucky enough to witness them. But we also remember a wonderful person with a huge appetite for life, and [a] woman with a very big heart who cared for everybody she met.”