Though there's a natural, innate discomfort around the conversation of suicide, Bergling isn't shying away from the term. "You should call things what they are," he told The Times.
Bergling also shows he has no hesitations about confronting difficult memories related to his son's passing head-on. In the immediate aftermath of Avicii's heartbreaking death, conversations swirled around the circumstances that could have led to such a tragedy.
Ultimately, Bergling attributes some of the reason to a lack of structure in the midst of his son's meteoric rise to fame. "It’s fame and fortune, and that’s a very dangerous combination,” he explained. "When you have an up-and-coming artist there should be some structure."
Bergling explains that in the absence of that structure Avicii ultimately sought out alcohol, among other substances, to deal with the pressures of being a world-renowned artist.
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In 2015, Avicii's family and friends staged an intervention over what they saw as problematic behavior. Bergling said that particular moment left him feeling conflicted. "It was one of the worst moments of my life because you really feel you’ve betrayed your son," he explained. "But it had to be done. It was naive. I’ve heard a thousand times that the fight starts when you’re sober."
While Avicii entered rehabilitation to address some of those issues of substance abuse, the underlying challenges related to his mental health struggle persisted. By 2017, he had retired from touring after suffering from acute pancreatitis. In 2018, he died at just 28 years old.
Although it seems clear in hindsight that Avicii was struggling, Bergling admits even he missed some obvious signals.
Today, Avicii's parents are co-founders of The Tim Bergling Foundation, an organization advocating for the recognition of suicide as a global health emergency. You can donate to the foundation here.