Lasse Wellander, longtime guitarist for ABBA, has died at 70, the band confirmed in a statement on Monday (April 10). A second statement was posted to Wellander’s official Facebook page, and revealed that he passed away on Friday, April 7, due to cancer.
“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,” band members Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Frida (Anni-Frid) Lyngstad wrote in an Instagram post featuring the late guitarist.
ABBA concluded its Instagram statement by adding, “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.”
A statement on the late artist’s Facebook page was also remembered the 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,” the message 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.”
While Wellander was not a part of ABBA’s core lineup, he served as the group’s lead guitarist for decades, starting in 1974, and played on several of ABBA’s recordings, live concerts and tours in 1975, 1977, 1979 and 1980. Most recently, Wellander’s guitar playing appeared on ABBA’s 2021 album, Voyage, which hit No. 2 on the Billboard 200.
Wellander also had a series of musical endeavors outside of ABBA, first dating back to 1968 and his teenage years while playing in Peps & Blues Quality, which later reformed to become Nature with Mats Ronander as its singer and harmonica player. (When Nature disbanded in 1977, Wellander and Ronander teamed up to form Wellander & Ronander.)
Other groups the guitarist played in included Zkiffz (1980), Little Mike and the Sweet Soul Music Band (1983–1986), Stockholm All Stars (1985–1988), Low Budget Blues Band (1983–1994) and the Vikings (2004). Wellander recorded solo music of his own through the 1970s to 1990s, and went on a hiatus of making his own material until 2017, when he released multiple singles and an album, Lasse Wellander 2017/2018. His latest solo release was single “O Come, All Ye Faithful” in November of 2022.