“Kim Larsen in his final moments was surrounded by his wife Liselotte and his six children Pelle, Sylvester, Alice Eva, Molly, Hjalmer and Lui,” his agent, Jørn Jeppesen, wrote in a press release.
Larsen’s health had taken a downward turn as his prostate cancer grew worse, causing him to cancel a number of concerts scheduled in Norway over the summer. He was, however, able to perform at this year’s Smukfest but had to do so from a chair.
With his captivating and sometimes banal pop lyrics, Larsen is perhaps Denmark’s biggest cultural icon. He has been one of the country’s most popular artists since the 1970s and has sold millions of records.
Kim Melius Flyvholm Larsen was born in Copenhagen, where he grew up. In 1968, he became a primary school teacher before fully pursuing his music career. He moved to Christianshavn, where he met Franz Beckerlee and Wili Jønsson. Together with Bjørn Uglebjerg, they formed the group Gasolin’.
Gasolin' in 1976. L-R: Søren Berlev, Franz Beckerlee, Kim Larsen and Wili Jønsson. Photo: Allan Moe/Scanpix
The band achieved a lasting place in Danish rock history with its Danish-language lyrics mixed with an international sound, which resulted in still-wildly popular hits like “Rabalderstræde” and “Kvinde min’.
In the 1970s, Gasolin’ was so popular in Denmark that the band simply could not reach higher heights domestically. They tried their hand at an international breakthrough, but their English-language songs failed to connect with a wider audience.
The band remained massively popular after breaking up in 1978.
In 1973, Larsen released his first solo album, “Værsgo”, a milestone in Danish musical history. It includes songs like “Nanna”, “Joanna”, “Byens hotel” and “Hvis din far gir dig lov”.
Although Larsen dreamed of an international breakthrough and a career in the United States, he later embraced his Danish national hero status.
“I thank the gods that I never ever got a breakthrough in America, even though I really wanted it back then. Just imagine being world-famous. You wouldn’t be able to relax anywhere,” he told Ud & Se in 2010.
In 1984, Larsen co-wrote and starred in the film “Midt om natten”. He also wrote and played most of the music from the film, the soundtrack of which is among the best-selling Danish albums of all time.
Larsen fronted several different bands and released a wide array of albums, including “Forklædt som voksen” with hits like “Jutlandia”, “Om lidt” og “Familien skal i skoven”. That album is also one of the biggest sellers in Danish history.
In 2006, Larsen declined the Knight's Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog, saying that he disapproved of the notion of bestowing personal honours. Four years later, he performed for Queen Margrethe on the occasion of her 70th birthday.
It is hard to overstate Larsen’s popularity amongst Danes. His songs have been the soundtrack for the lives of several generations and are likely to live on forever.