Roxette singer Marie Fredriksson dies aged 61
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Roxette singer Marie Fredriksson dies aged 61

SWEDISH POP icon and Roxette leader singer Marie Fredriksson has died following a brave 17-year battle against cancer.

Fredriksson fronted the wildly successful Scandinavian music duo alongside Per Gessie, scoring a string of top 10 hits on both sides of the Atlantic.

Roxette first made their mark on the world of pop in 1989 with the debut single Neverending Love and subsequent album Pearls of Passion.

They hit the big time three years later with the hit singe The Look, which topped the singles charts in the US and peaked at no.7 in the UK.

Subsequent singles It Must Have Been Love and Joyride cemented their status as one of the most popular pop rock acts of the early 1990s.

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Fredriksson was front and centre, with her short, spiky blonde and bold looks making her something of a style icon from the era.

It Must Have Been Love remains a mainstay of power ballad compilations the world over, thanks in no small part to its role as the soundtrack to the Julia Roberts/Richard Gere romantic comedy hit, Pretty Woman.

Roxette continued to perform for much of the 1990s and early 2000s but in 2002 Fredriksson was forced to take a break from music after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

She battled back against the illness though, undergoing an aggressive treatment program that saw her eventually return to the stage with Gessie towards the end of the decade.

Fredriksson was eventually forced to step away from music altogether in 2016 as her health deteriorated further.

She leaves behind her husband Mikael Bolyos and her two children Josefin and Oscar.

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In a statement, Fredriksson’s management company spoke in glowing terms about the Swedish singer’s "reputation as a sensational live performer".

"She owned the stage, commanded the band and had the audience in the palm of her hand,” they said.

"As great as she was in the studio, the stage was her natural habitat. This unique artistry and energy helped to create a lasting bond between her and millions of passionate fans around the globe."

Her musical partner, Gessle, said: "Thank you, Marie, thanks for everything. You were an outstanding musician, a master of the voice, an amazing performer.

"Thanks for painting my black and white songs in the most beautiful colours.

"You were the most wonderful friend for over 40 years. I’m proud, honoured and happy to have been able to share so much of your time, talent, warmth, generosity and sense of humour.

"All my love goes out to you and your family. Things will never be the same."

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