Lasse Wellander, ABBA’s Longtime Guitarist, Dies at 70April 15, 2023
Lasse Wellander, ABBA’s go-to guitarist across decades of hits, died at age 70 on April 7 due to cancer. He was 70. The news was confirmed in a statement on Wellander’s official Facebook page over the weekend.
“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,” the note read. “You were an amazing musician and humble as few, but above all you were a wonderful husband, father, brother, uncle and grandfather. 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.”
ABBA’s Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Frida Lyngstad and Benny Andersson also paid their respects with a statement on Instagram.
“Lasse was a dear friend, a fun guy and a superb guitarist. The importance of his creative input in the recording studio as well as his rock solid guitar work on stage was immense,” the band wrote alongside a black-and-white photo of the late musician on stage.
A post shared by ABBA (@abba)
“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,” ABBA’s statement concluded.
Wellander was born in 1952 and grew up in a small village called Skrekarhyttan in Sweden. His first experience in the music biz dates back to the late ’60s, when an ambitious 16-year-old Wellander joined the band Peps & Blues Quality, which later became Nature with Mats Ronander as its lead singer and harmonica player. Nature also served as a supporting band for other acts at the time including Pugh Rogefeldt, Göran Fristorp, Ulf Lundell and Gärdestad.
According to his website, the guitarist began working with ABBA while touring with Ted Gärdestad in 1974. This was the beginning of a decades-long relationship between Wellander and the band, with whom he recorded in 1975, 1977, 1979 and 1980. Wellander’s most recent credits with the band appeared on ABBA’s 2021 album, “Voyage,” which was up for album of the year and best pop album vocal album at the 2023 Grammys earlier this year. He also appears on the soundtracks for films including “Mamma Mia” and “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.”
In recent years, Wellander had expanded his work as a solo recording artist — building on a catalog that started in the 1970s — with his last release being a one-off single in November 2022.
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