Two very different men. One common thread.

Video by MWN

Warning: This post mentions suicide. Contact Lifeline (13 11 14) or beyondblue (1300 22 4636) if it brings up issues for you. 

Over the weekend, the deaths of 28-year-old Tim Bergling, better known by his stage name Avicii, and 49-year-old actor Verne Troyer were announced within the space of 24 hours.

Bergling, a wildly successful Swedish producer and DJ, died on Friday in Muscat, Oman. His cause of death is currently unknown or being withheld, but has been ruled “not suspicious”.

Troyer, who played the iconic role of Mini-Me in the Austin Powers franchise, died on Saturday after being admitted to hospital with high levels of alcohol in his system, US Weekly reports. A statement released by his family acknowledged “depression and suicide are very serious issues,” and “you never know what kind of battle someone is going through inside,” suggesting mental health might have been a factor in his passing.

Bergling and Troyer were two very different men, with two very different lives. But they had one common battle.

Avicii started making music in his late teens and early twenties, and released music at an incredible rate. In 2011, his song Levels hit number one in Sweden and the United States, and launched his career as a remixer, DJ and producer in the international music scene. But at just 21, he suffered acute pancreatitis during his US tour – brought on in part by excessive alcohol consumption. He was hospitalised for 11 days, and had his gallbladder and appendix removed.

“Yeah I was drinking way too much, partying in general way too much,” he told Time magazine. “Then I got a pancreatitis attack, which is very rare. So that forced me to do a 180 and stop drinking.”

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He said the electronic dance music scene required a life of heavy partying, and doing 800 live shows had taken a toll on his mental health.

In 2016, Avicii then made the decision to stop touring. “To me, it was something I had to do for my health,” told The Hollywood Reporter.

“The scene was not for me. It was not the shows and not the music. It was always the other stuff surrounding it that never came naturally to me. All the other parts of being an artist. I’m more of an introverted person in general. It was always very hard for me. I took on board too much negative energy, I think.”

A 2017 documentary titled Avicii: True Stories showed behind-the-scenes footage of the DJ’s life on the road and shone a spotlight on his health issues, linked to his drinking.

Fellow DJ and producer Nicky Romero, who last spoke to Avicii less than a month ago, told Billboard on Monday, “he was a really good person”.

Cameron Daddo opens up to Mia Freedman about his battle with addiction, on No Filter. Post continues after audio.

“Such a talented guy that was not ready to perform for so many people. You know, he was the one that wanted to make the music but not so much the one who wanted to be on stage all the time. I’m so sad that the price was that high that he’s not with us anymore.”

Eleven years before Tim Bergling, and on a different continent, Verne Troyer was born in Michigan with a rare genetic disorder named cartilage-hair hypoplasia, making him one of the shortest people in the world.

As an adult, he reached a height of 2 feet 8 inches, or 81 cm. He was raised Amish, but left the church as a child, and pursued work as a stunt double and actor.

His most notable roles were in the Austin Powers series as Mini-Me, and as the goblin Griphook in Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone. 

In 2002, Troyer nearly died as a result of alcohol poisoning after his wife, Genevieve Gallen, left him after only two months of marriage. Then in 2005, a drunken clip of Troyer on reality show The Surreal Life went viral.

In April 2017, almost exactly one year ago, the actor shared with fans his decision to check himself into rehab for his problems with alcohol. “I’ve battled alcohol addiction in the past and while it’s not always been an easy fight, I’m willing to continue my fight day by day,” he wrote on Instagram.

A post shared by Verne Troyer (@vernetroyer) on

“I’ve been receiving treatment for the last week, and I am voluntarily checking into a treatment centre later this week to continue to get the help I need… with your support, I got this.”

Then, on Saturday, the announcement of his death was posted to his Facebook page.

“Verne was… a fighter when it came to his own battles,” the statement read.

“Over the years he’s struggled and won, struggled and won, struggled and fought some more, but unfortunately this time was too much.

“During this recent time of adversity he was baptised while surrounded by his family. The family appreciates that they have this time to grieve privately.”

Two very different men. One common thread.

An addiction that haunted their lives, no matter how bright their success.

If you think you may be experiencing depression, alcoholism or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner or in Australia, contact Lifeline 13 11 14 for support or beyondblue 1300 22 4636. 

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