Swedish songwriter and producer Avicii was a pioneer and innovator in the electronic dance music world. During his brief career, he redefined the dance-pop scene by mixing electronic music with many different musical genres.
Born Tim Bergling, Avicii had millions of fans and commanded six-figure paychecks spinning global hits such as Levels and Wake Me Up at music festivals around the world. But the pressure of success and touring weighed heavily on the young musician, contributing stress to his lifelong mental health struggles before he took his life in 2018 at the age of 28.
To honor his life and the legacy of his music, as well as raise awareness about suicide and mental health, Google will dedicate an animated Doodle on Wednesday, his 32nd birthday. The Doodle sketches out moments from Avicii’s life while serenading us with the music of his smash hit Wake Me Up.
The celebration of his life also comes during National Suicide Prevention Week, an annual weeklong campaign that seeks to raise awareness about suicide and promote an open dialogue about mental health.
More than 700,000 people die of suicide each year, or about one every 40 seconds, according to the World Health Organization. In the US, suicide is the second leading cause of death among people 15 to 24 years old, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
After Avicii’s suicide, his family created the Tim Bergling Foundation to raise awareness and address the stigma of mental health among young people. Google spoke with Avicii’s father, Klas Bergling, about his son and mental health.
Bergling described his son as “a kind and open person, full of energy, stubbornness and integrity.” And although Avicii wasn’t prepared for the fame he was exposed to, Bergling said his son was humble, treating people with kindness and respect.
Bergling said he and his wife created the foundation to honor their son by helping others struggling with mental health issues. The foundation’s goals include lowering the suicide rate among young people and removing the stigma surrounding it.
“It can be hard to talk about, but that’s what we need to do — talk about it,” he said. “Simple things like asking questions can go a long way in helping someone heal. And if you see someone moving in the wrong direction, you should encourage or help them seek support.
“I truly believe that the small things — a smile, a short note — mean so much to people who are grieving,” he said. “It can be hard to know what to do, and you often feel like whatever you do it’s not enough, but a few words often go a long way.”
If you’re struggling with negative thoughts, self harm or suicidal feelings, here are 13 suicide and crisis intervention hotlines you can use to get help.
You can also call these numbers:
US: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.
UK: The Samaritans can be reached at 116 123.
AU: Lifeline can be reached at 13 11 14.