ABBA’s long-term guitarist Lasse Wellander is dead after a short battle with cancer, his family announced.
The Swedish pop group described Wellander’s talent as “immense,” and paid tribute to a “dear friend, a fun guy and a superb guitarist.”
A statement posted on the guitarist’s Facebook page on Sunday says “It is with indescribable sadness that we have to announce that our beloved Lasse has fallen asleep. Lasse recently fell ill in what turned out to be spread cancer and early on Good Friday he passed away, surrounded by his loved ones”.
“You were an amazing musician and humble as few, but above all you were a wonderful husband, father, brother, uncle and grandfather,” the statement added.
Wellander was born in 1952, he did his first session with Swedish pop legends ABBA in October of 1974, when songs “Intermezzo No.1” and “Crazy World” were recorded. Soon after, he became the main guitarist on the group’s albums, and toured with them in 1975, 1977, 1979 and 1980.
Even after Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad, Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Fältskog did split from the group in 1982, Wellander stayed on, working with Benny and Björn.
He appeared on a number of albums, including the “Chess” concept album, two “Gemini” albums and the soundtracks for the films “Mamma Mia” and “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” as well as the ABBA album “Voyage,” released two years ago.
Wellander played with several groups during the 80s, including Low Budget Blues Band, Zkiffz, Little Mike and the Sweet Soul Music Band and Stockholm All Stars, according to the biography on his official website.
A celebrated musician in his own right, he released seven studio albums, two of which made the Top 40 album charts, according to his biography on ABBA’s website.
Lasse Wellander received the Albin Hagström Memorial Award from The Royal Swedish Academy of Music in 2005 while 13 years later was awarded the Swedish Musicians Union’s prestigious special prize Studioräven Award for his work as a session musician.
Writing by Tersoo Nicholas