Music & Nightlife

Superstar DJ Avicii hospitalized; cancels Ultra Music Festival and other Miami shows

Superstar DJ Avicii was hospitalized in Miami Thursday afternoon with severe abdominal pain, nausea and fever from a blocked gall bladder, and has canceled his headlining performance Saturday night at the Ultra Music Festival in downtown Miami as well as all other appearances this week, his management said late Friday afternoon.

"I was with Tim at the hospital last night and this morning," said Ash Pournouri, manager of the 24-year-old Swedish artist, whose real name is Tim Bergling. "He was really disappointed that he wasn’t able… to perform for all his fans."

One of the biggest acts in the ballooning realm of electronic dance music, or EDM, Avicii is being evaluated for surgery to remove his gall bladder, the statement said.

An Ultra spokesperson said his slot at the festival’s main stage Saturday will be taken by deadmau5, the DJ/producer known for his cartoonish mouse head mask.

Avicii apologized to fans on his Facebook page Friday evening. “I'm very sad to inform everyone that i, due to hospitalization, need to cancel my set on Ultra Miami this Saturday. Deadmau5 is being kind enough to step up and I'm very sorry to let everyone down. Much love.”

The news came after 24 hours of rumors and headlines when the artist behind Wake Me Up and other EDM megahits canceled a Thursday night show at the SLS South Beach hotel, to which he’d lent his name for a high profile branding partnership and series of glitzy events.

Avicii has been treated twice before for serious health problems brought on by his rapid rise to the top of a music scene known for its intensive pace and indulgent lifestyle. In interviews with website In The Mix, and with Rolling Stone and GQ, he admitted that excessive partying and all day binge drinking, on top of a heavy touring schedule of over 300 shows a year, put him in a New York hospital with acute pancreatitis for 11 days in late 2012. A common cause of pancreatitis is alcohol abuse. Last March he was again hospitalized in Australia for six days for the same condition, forcing him to cancel shows there and a tour in India soon afterward.

"You are traveling around, you live in a suitcase, you get to this place, there's free alcohol everywhere—it's sort of weird if you don't drink," Avicii told GQ. "I didn't expect it to last… I was so nervous. I just got into a habit, because you rely on that encouragement and self-confidence you get from alcohol, and then you get dependent on it."

In January he told Rolling Stone that he has not had a drink in a year. But news stories on the Australia incident reported that Avicii opted out of recommended gall bladder surgery in order to go ahead with his many gigs.

His cancellation of the SLS show was first reported by entertainment website TMZ early Thursday evening, and was announced by Avicii himself in a since-deleted tweet that evening. "At the hospital. Extremely bummed about missing my show at the Avicii Hotel. My brother @Alesso [Fellow Swedish DJ Alessandro Lindblad] is stepping up and covering for me."

The incident followed a more benign mishap to DJ Afrojack, who tumbled from the stage while spraying fans with champagne at a Wednesday night show on Miami Beach, hitting his head on the concrete. The Dutch DJ, whose song Ten Feet Tall was the soundtrack to a talked-about Super Bowl commercial for Bud Light, announced his accident on Twitter, saying that he visited the hospital and was " dehydrated and overworked" but ok. On Thursday evening Afrojack made a promotional appearance at clothing store G-Star Raw and played shows at South Beach’s W Hotel.

Avicii and Afrojack are part of a new generation of EDM artists whose fame and appeal have expanded far beyond the genre’s original audience of festival and club-goers. Avicii is the face of Ralph Lauren’s Denim and Supply clothing line, and was set to launch a brand of organic Swedish vodka soon. On Friday morning, it was announced that Avicii would be featured, along with Carlos Santana and Wyclef, on the official anthem for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.