ABBA’s long-term guitarist Lasse Wellander has died 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.”
“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,” a statement posted to the guitarist’s Facebook page on Sunday said.
“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.
“Kind, safe, caring and loving … and so much more, that cannot be described in words. A hub in our lives, and it’s unbelievable that we now have to live on without you.”
“Lasse was a dear friend, a fun guy and a superb guitarist,” ABBA said in a statement to CNN Monday.
“The importance of his creative input in the recording studio as well as his rock solid guitar work on stage was immense.
“We mourn his tragic and premature death and remember the kind words, the sense of humour, the smiling face, the musical brilliance of the man who played such an integral role in the ABBA story. He will be deeply missed and never forgotten.”
Born in 1952, Wellander did his first session with Swedish pop legends ABBA in October 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, according to the band’s website.
Even after Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad, Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Fältskog went their separate ways in 1982, Wellander stayed in the fold, 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 in November 2021.
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, Wellander released seven studio albums, two of which made the Top 40 album charts, according to his biography on ABBA’s website.
He received the Albin Hagström Memorial Award from The Royal Swedish Academy of Music in 2005 and 13 years later was awarded the Swedish Musicians Union’s prestigious special prize Studioräven Award for his work as a session musician.