Devastating New Details Emerge About Avicii’s Last Days Before Shock Death Aged 28

Avicii was so heavily reliant on painkillers towards the end of his life that he resembled a ‘zombie’, a new documentary reveals.

The late Swedish DJ and EDM producer, who took his own life in 2018 at the age of 28, abused painkillers to such an extent that the blacks of his eyes looked like ‘pins’, according to Jesse Waits, who became like an older brother to him.

During one dinner, Avicii appeared ‘not there’ despite his eyes being ‘wide open’, Waits mentioned in ‘I’m Tim’, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on Sunday.

The documentary features Avicii, born Tim Bergling, providing a haunting narration from an interview conducted late in his career. He spoke about his crippling anxiety, admitting, “I was killing myself” with relentless touring. Avicii’s dream was to escape the constant grind and push himself less, but he couldn’t stop.

In a chilling moment, one of Avicii’s famous collaborators suggested that “SOS,” the first single from his posthumous album “Tim,” was a secret cry for help. Aloe Blacc, who sang on Avicii’s hit ‘Wake Me Up’, stated that it was a warning they realized “way too late.”

The documentary, which received rapturous applause at Tribeca from a theater full of Avicii fans, features appearances by some of Avicii’s famous collaborators, including disco legend Nile Rogers and Chris Martin of Coldplay. They reflected on the toll that touring took on Avicii, who became famous before he was 20 and performed more than 800 shows in six years, sometimes playing in two cities in one night.

However, he struggled with mental health issues, drug and alcohol use, and was forced to stop touring in 2016 at the age of 26. Avicii was found dead in Muscat, Oman, reportedly after cutting himself with a broken wine bottle and bleeding to death.

After his death, his family released an open letter describing him as an “overperforming perfectionist” who “could not go on any more” and “wanted peace.”

‘I’m Tim’ details Avicii’s upbringing in Stockholm, where he spent most of his first 19 years within a five-block radius, including his school. In the film, he says even back then he was ‘insecure’ and only had three or four close friends. Avicii admits he ‘wasn’t a nice person’ to other kids and blamed his anxieties. He changed his ways one summer and became a people pleaser.

At school, his friends remembered him as a computer geek, and photos shown in the documentary depict Avicii with severe acne in his youth. He met Filip Akesson, the DJ known as Philgood, and the two began making music together, skipping school to spend hours in Avicii’s bedroom.

Avicii started uploading his music to house music blogs and soon caught the notice of Swedish promoter Arash Pournouri, who promised to make him a star. Given Avicii’s astonishing talent for creating melodies, within a year, he was already an in-demand DJ. As he says in the film: “I went from being young, from school, to touring.”

One of Avicii’s early hits was “Alcoholic” with the now prophetic refrain: “Call it what you wanna call it, I’m a f****** alcoholic.” He chose the name Avicii because Tim Bergling was already taken on MySpace, and so was Avici, the name for one of the 28 hells in Hinduism and Buddhism.

Initially, the touring was a dream, and Avicii says that it “didn’t feel real”. He was “young and hungry” and loved the lifestyle. His career reached new heights with the release of “Levels” in 2011, which became an international hit. By the time “Wake Me Up”, the lead single from his debut album “True”, was released in 2013, he was commanding almost $750,000 to play live.

Yet appearing on stage was not easy for Avicii, who was naturally introverted. In the film, he says: “I realized how stiff I was when I wasn’t drinking so I found the magical cure of having a couple of drinks before going on to loosen you up.” He continued, “I just took everything on that I could. I didn’t realize you could do Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday but once that opened up you could tour the whole year.”

The toll on Avicii’s health began to mount, and in January 2012, he was hospitalized with pancreatitis, a condition caused by excessive drinking typically seen in middle-aged men. Doctors told him to stay sober for six months or his stomach would not heal. Writing in his diaries, Avicii said he had a “hard time accepting never drinking again” and admits he only listened to the doctors who told him to drink in moderation. In February 2013, Avicii was rushed to the hospital in Australia after his pancreas became inflamed for a second time. He lost a significant amount of weight, which left friends and family deeply concerned.

Avicii says in the film that he knew his decision not to rest and recover from pancreatitis was going to “bite me in the a**” but he did it anyway. He adds: “I was a lot happier before I was famous than after I was famous. I started feeling very unhappy. I was on autopilot mode. I started really f****** wondering why I was feeling like this. I had been acting away because this is how you’re supposed to be acting.”

“I think I didn’t give myself enough time to figure out if there was something I wanted to change.” Waits, the managing partner of Las Vegas nightclub XS, tells the film that Avicii “lost himself” amid his success. Waits says that he regarded Avicii as a “younger brother” and encouraged him to take a new, more personal direction in his career. The result was songs like “Wake Me Up” which had a bluegrass influence and became a worldwide hit.

But there were bumps along the road, including Avicii’s infamous 2013 set at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami where EDM fans were shocked to see him playing songs from his new album “Stories” with a live band. Waits said that Avicii was “really broken about it” and refused to leave his room. “He was shattered, looking at the Twitter and Instagram feeds,” he says.

In the following years, Avicii was hospitalized twice more and needed his stomach pumped for drinking too much and taking prescription drugs. An intervention by his family initially left Avicii “furious”, his father Klas tells the film, but he agreed to go into a $13,000-a-week rehab center in Ibiza.

Still, Waits was deeply disturbed after one dinner in Stockholm where Avicii seemed out of it. Waits told his friend he was making more money in one gig than some people make in their lives and had a supportive family. From the outside, there was no clue of Avicii’s inner turmoil, Waits says.

He tells the filmmakers: “I realized he was taking painkillers. I grew up with family that did drugs and I saw when people do opiates their eyes change. The pin, the little black parts of their eyes.” “His eyes were wide open like a zombie, he was not there. At the dinner, his demeanor changed and his eyes dilated.”

“That changed everything, those pills change how you act and how you feel. You wake up feeling like s*** and have to have another one to feel good.” “For him, it was to suppress his anxiety but it just created more anxiety.”

In the most powerful parts of the film, Avicii describes in detail his struggles and says that he was “so anxious” all the time. “I could feel it physically,” he says. “It was like a stone in my guts, and it was constant, a constant emotion.”

Avicii tried psychiatrists, doctors, and various diets, he says, but it was all “stupid stuff” that wasn’t the real problem. “It’s really hard. It got to a point where I didn’t like it (touring and making music) anymore.” He continued, “It’s me trying to be something that isn’t me. The dream would be to be completely at ease with what I have already and not have any aspirations to do a billion other things, not be grinding constantly… then I’ll be happy.”

“I want to be free from the ideas of living life. That kept me from living a life… that would be life for me, being content.” Avicii brands guidance from his record label that he had to capture the audience’s attention in five seconds as “stupid.” With his voice becoming audibly angry, he complains how he was “thrown into an industry where it’s about chasing how many views you have, how many comments – it’s become almost impossible to stay away from.”

He says: “You can’t have a meeting with somebody in the industry without them mentioning 60 times different statistics and why this is better than that.” Avicii’s decision to stop touring in 2016 led to him being the happiest he had been since he was 18, he says. He was trying out transcendental meditation, and friends said that he was in a good place making music with new collaborators.

But Avicii’s demons never left him, and he told friends he was still in great pain. The day before he died, a fellow traveler in Oman called his father to express concern over Avicii’s meditation practices. He said Avicii was crying, not speaking, refusing to eat, and sitting in the blistering sun.

Among Avicii’s final messages to friends was an unsettling text that read: “The shedding of the soul is the last attachment, before it restarts!” In the documentary, Aloe Blacc, the singer on ‘Wake Me Up’, says that Avicii could have been using his music to convey how hard life

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