Abba's Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad have paid tribute to their longstanding guitarist Lasse Wellander following his death at the age of 70 on Friday 7 April.
"Lasse was a dear friend, a fun guy and a superb guitarist," the Swedish band said in a joint statement. "The importance of his creative input in the recording studio as well as his rock solid guitar work on stage was immense.
"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."
Wellander passed away from cancer. His family said in a statement that he was "surrounded by his loved ones".
The guitarist joined forces with Abba in 1974 for the sessions recording Intermezzo No.1 and Crazy World. He would tour with them in 1975, '77, '79 and '80. He played on hits including Take A Chance On Me, Voulez Vous and Knowing Me, Knowing You and on Abba member's projects after the band parted ways – including two Agnetha Fältskog albums.
"I thought it would be big, quite early on," Wellander told Guitarist magazine last year of his first impressions of working with Abba. "Strong songs all the way. Even the simple pop numbers were very high quality. One of the first tracks I recorded with them was Knowing Me, Knowing You. I think that’s still one of the better songs throughout the years.”
In addition to recording under his own name, Wellander's collaborations with the four-piece continued on 2021's comeback album Voyage, and he also worked on the soundtrack to the film adaption hugely successful Abba musical Mamma Mia.
Find out more about Lasse Wellander at the official website verywellander.se