Swedish jazz star dies in house blaze

Monica Zetterlund, one of Sweden's best-loved singers and cabaret artistes, has died after a fire in her Stockholm apartment on Thursday. The cause of the fire is so far unclear, although police say that they should have a better idea of what happened early next week.

The fire apparently started late on Thursday afternoon and the fire brigade was alerted at 5.45pm. By the time they arrived at the apartment on Birger Jarlsgatan it had already taken hold.

Firemen equipped with breathing apparatus entered the property within half an hour and found a badly-burned female body, which was revealed on Friday afternoon to be that of the 67-year old jazz legend.

Zetterlund suffered from a lack of mobility due to scoliosis and it appears that she alerted the fire services via an emergency alarm. The woman who spoke to the emergency services said that there was smoke in the apartment and she “didn’t want to die like this”.

“The fire was fast and powerful,” said fire inspector Karl Henriksson. “This probably happened from smoking in bed.”

Police told Aftonbladet on Friday morning that firemen found Zetterlund’s wheelchair by the bed.

The singers family were informed on Thursday night.

Zetterlund began her career singing with a big band in the town of her birth, Hagfors. After recording her first album in the late 50s, she moved to Stockholm where she sang at the famous jazz club, Nalen.

In 1964 Zetterlund recorded an album with the legendary Bill Evans trio but she became better known to the Swedish public after her role in the 1970 TV production Söderkåkar. That led to a dozen more acting roles in between numerous recordings and concerts.

Sources: Svenska Dagbladet, Aftonbladet