Abba have paid tribute to the “musical brilliance” of their long-standing guitarist, Lasse Wellander, following his death at the age of 70.
The musician, who played on the band’s biggest albums and toured with them between 1975 and 1980, died early on Good Friday following a cancer diagnosis, a statement from his family said.
Raised in the small village of Skrekarhyttan in Sweden, Wellander had his first recording session with Abba in October 1974 and continued to play on their respective solo albums following their split.
“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.”
In a post on his official Facebook page, Wellander’s family said he had died “surrounded by his loved ones”.
They paid tribute to him as an “amazing” and “humble” musician, as well as a “wonderful husband, father, brother, uncle and grandfather”.
Before partnering with Abba, Wellander was a member of local groups, including Nature, who served as the backing band of Swedish singer-songwriter Ted Gardestad.
When Abba split, he appeared on the Chess concept album and the soundtracks to Mamma Mia! The Movie and its sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
He also appeared on Faltskog’s solo albums, Wrap Your Arms Around Me from 1983 and My Colouring Book from 2004.
Most recently, Wellander played on Abba’s number one comeback album Voyage, released in 2021.
In 2005, he received the Albin Hagstrom Memorial Award from the Royal Swedish Academy Of Music and in 2018 the Swedish Musicians’ Union’s special prize for his work as a session musician.