Singer Marie Fredriksson of Swedish duo Roxette dies following battle with cancer

Roxette's hits included "It Must Have Been Love," "Listen to Your Heart" and "Spending My Time."
Image: Marie Fredriksson Roxette
Marie Fredriksson of Roxette performs live in Milano, Italy, on May 10 2015.Mairo Cinquetti / NurPhoto via Getty Images

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By Minyvonne Burke

Singer Marie Fredriksson of the Swedish pop duo Roxette died Monday after a 17-year battle with cancer. She was 61.

“Time goes by so quickly. It’s not that long ago we spent days and nights in my tiny apartment in Halmstad, listening to music we loved, sharing impossible dreams. And what a dream we eventually got to share!" her on-stage partner, Per Gessle, said in a statement released by their management team.

"You were an outstanding musician, a master of the voice, an amazing performer."

Roxette's hits included "Listen to Your Heart," "Spending My Time" and "It Must Have Been Love" from the 1990 soundtrack for the Julia Roberts' film "Pretty Woman." The group, which formed in 1986, achieved international success with their albums "Look Sharp!" in 1988 and "Joyride" in 1991, The Associated Press reported.

They had six top two hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold 80 million records worldwide.

Fredriksson was born in May 1958 in the south of Sweden and had a solo career before teaming up with Gessle. Roxette's first album "Pearls of Passion" made them "stars in Sweden," their management said, but it would not be until the release of "Look Sharp!" that the duo would gain worldwide recognition.

In 2002, Fredriksson fell ill and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She received "aggressive treatment" which took a toll on her body but was successful. She returned to the stage in 2009, according to her management.

Roxette went on to record several new albums and began touring the world again. In 2016, however, doctors told Fredriksson she needed to step away from touring and focus on her health.

"Marie leaves us a grand musical legacy. Her amazing voice — both strong and sensitive — and her magical live performances will be remembered by all of us who was lucky enough to witness them," her team said. "But we also remember a wonderful person with a huge appetite for life, and woman with a very big heart who cared for everybody she met."

Gessle, whose friendship with Fredriksson spanned more than four decades, said he was "proud, honored and happy" to have known her.

"All my love goes out to you and your family. Things will never be the same," he said in his statement.

She is survived by her husband, Mikael Bolyos, and their two children, Josefin and Oscar.