Avicii’s manager’s chilling joke about his career ‘killing him’ before first hit

Avicii – real name Tim Bergling – was one of the music pioneers of his generation.

His following was huge, stars clamoured to work with him and he played 813 shows to sell-out crowds during his eight year career.

Discovered when he was just a teenager and approached by music promotor Arash Pournouri, Tim soon had a devoted following.

Playing small clubs he was never content with remixing other people's sounds and wanted to make his own music, in his own way.

After signing a record deal remixing other musician's tracks it was the song, Levels, that catapulted him to the big time.

And as soon as record companies heard the single, Arash engineered a bidding war that ensured everyone knew the name of Avicii.

The track was eventually bought for a huge 500,000 euros in what Tim's manager described as a "hustle" in never before seen footage.

BBC Three documentary, Avicii: True Stories, reveals intimate backstage moments as young DJ Tim took the world by storm.

But right from the start, manager Arash, knew this would be a hectic ride for the dance music prodigy.

In a chilling joke, immediately after securing the huge Levels deal, Arash said: "Tim is going to die with all the radio and TV interviews."

Just seven years later Tim Bergling had taken his own life.

Afterwards, his family said he "wanted to find peace" and "could not go on any longer".

In the behind the scenes documentary, Tim describes himself as "shy" and admits he hates being the centre of attention.

Despite this, he was thrust into the limelight due to his huge success.

As Avicii he played 813 shows throughout his career, sharing the stage with some of the biggest names in music.

He was an in demand collaborator, working with Coldplay's Chris Martin, Nile Rogers and Wyclef Jean.

Chris said: "He is just so talented."

While Wyclef added: "He hears entire symphonies in his head, like Bach.

"He is a hardcore music theorist and that's what makes him a great composer."

But underneath it all, Tim was a deeply unhappy young man.

First battling serious health problems that forced him to cancel shows when he was admitted to hospital.

He admits the constant pain from his pancreatitis was hard to handle as he was prescribed a cocktail of medication.

Tim also battled anxiety and eventually fell so out of love with touring and performing live that he suddenly quit in 2016.

In the documentary he says: "For four or fiveyears everything was amazing. It's like jumping out of a plane when you are playing – you go on stage and feel special and connect with people.

"I gave it 100 per cent but I kept doing that and it was all around and more and more and more.

"I didn't give myself enough time out of the tour and the only time I had was a few weeks when I wasn't on the road.

"I never really got to go home any more. I was away for eight years and then when I did come home it didn't really feel like home any more.

"It got to the point where I didn't like it any more so I decided 'f*** it, I'm going to quit."

The decision in 2016 to stop playing live devastated fans.

After years on the road, and even after an eight month break to recharge and for therapy, Tim still felt the same old stresses when he went back on tour.

He said: "I've been away for six months and I've done everything I can and straight away I'm stressed and I still don't like performing.

"I don't know how to explain to people that my life is all about stress."

Tim vowed to complete the remaining dates he had booked in but even that became too much.

After 10 shows were cancelled in Las Vegas, Tim told his long-term manager he couldn't carry on – but Arash would not take no for an answer.

He told the documntary: "He doesn't understand the value of money or that the people around him are there because he's succesful.

"Anyone who goes from being at school to having a career and being so succesful misses a big part of growing up."

Following his final dates, Tim never played live again.

He parted company with Arash in December, 2016.

Tim Bergling was found dead after taking his own life on April 20, 2018.

  • Avicii: True Stories is on BBC Three from April 20.

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