ABBA's longtime guitarist Lasse Wellander has died aged 70 on Friday, according to his family. Wellander, who toured with the Swedish supergroup for years and helped create the "Mamma Mia!" soundtrack, was diagnosed with cancer sometime back and died after a difficult battle.
The soft-spoken Swedish guitarist played some of the iconic pop group's biggest hits throughout the 70s and 80s and was also involved in their recent album, Voyage, which was released in 2021.
Star in His Own Right
Wellander's death was announced in a heartbreaking statement by his family. "It is with indescribable sadness that we have to announce that our beloved Lasse has fallen asleep," a Sunday statement posted to the Swede's Facebook page read.
"Lasse recently fell ill in what turned out to be disseminated cancer and early on Good Friday he passed away, surrounded by his loved ones."
The statement continued: "You were a fantastic musician and humble like few, but above all, you were a wonderful husband, brother, grandmother, and grandfather."
Wellander began playing guitar at a young age and joined bands in Nora, Sweden, where he lived.
In October 1974, he began working with ABBA, which comprised Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. He appeared on their singles Crazy World and Intermezzo No. 1.
The pop group's guitarist appeared on 24 recordings and all eight of their albums.
He performed in front of sold-out crowds while on tour with the stars in 1975, 1977, 1979, and 1980.
Fortunately, Wellander's career did not cease when ABBA first split. He joined back Peps & Blues Quality with Peps Persson which he had joined when he was just 16 years old.
A Career Worth Remembering
Wellandfer performed with several other Swedish bands and singers in addition to ABBA. In 1981, he also released his first album under his own name. Throughout the years, he went on to produce and release 11 more albums.
Also, he worked as a composer for a variety of film and television themes, such as the 1992 Swedish film Änglagård, which featured one of his compositions.
2006 saw the release of his final solo album with its English title Easy Ticket.
He was also roped in to work on the Mamma Mia! soundtrack in 2008, with the film starring Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried, among others.
Wellander received numerous honors throughout his career, including the coveted Litteris et Artibus Swedish Royal Medal in 2010. He was later inducted into the Swedish Music Hall of Fame in 2014 together with other ABBA members.
Fans expressed their condolences on social media after learning of his death.
"Lasse passed away on Good Friday with cancer. We would like to send our condolences to Lasse's family and close friends. Thank you Lasse, for sharing your talent to the world," wrote one Twitter user.
Another wrote: "Another Swedish legend has left us. #LasseWellanderRIP."
In 2021 he was involved in creating ABBA's most recent album Voyage.