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Sweden mourns death of ‘Millennium’ star Michael Nyqvist

Michael Nyqvist, one of Sweden's most beloved actors and the star of the original Millennium trilogy, has died at the age of 56.

Sweden mourns death of 'Millennium' star Michael Nyqvist
Michael Nyqvist at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival. Photo: AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

“On behalf of Michael Nyqvist's representatives and family, it is with deep sadness that I can confirm that our beloved Michael, one of Sweden's most respected and accomplished actors, has passed away quietly surrounded by family after a year-long battle with lung cancer,” Alissa Goodman said in a statement to AFP.

“Michael's joy and passion were infectious to those who knew and loved him. His charm and charisma were undeniable, and his love for the arts was felt by all who had the pleasure of working with him.”

Known internationally for starring opposite Noomi Rapace in the movie trilogy based on Stieg Larsson's 'Millennium' novels, Nyqvist had in fact been acting in his native Sweden since the early 1980s and was famous for his roles in iconic Swedish movies such as Oscar-nominated 'Så som i himmelen' ('As it is in Heaven'), 'Tillsammans' ('Together') and romantic comedy 'Grabben i graven bredvid'.

READ ALSO: Remembering Michael Nyqvist's life in pictures

But it was 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' and its two sequels, all released in 2009 and making more than $215 million at box offices worldwide, that won him global fame.

He played Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative reporter who teamed up with rebel hacker-turned-detective Lisbeth Salander (Rapace) in the first movie as they searched for the disappeared niece of a business tycoon.

Nyqvist, who had more than 50 film credits, went on to forge a successful career in Hollywood, starring in 'Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol', 'John Wick' and 'Frank and Lola'.

In 2010, Nyqvist published 'När barnet lagt sig' ('Just After Dreaming'), an acclaimed memoir detailing his earlies childhood memories after his adoption, experiences at theatre school and tracking down his biological parents at age 30.

He is survived by his wife Catharina, and their children Ellen and Arthur.

MILLENNIUM

Lisbeth Salander is back in fifth Millennium book

The Millennium series' famous computer hacker Lisbeth Salander is set to grip readers' imaginations again as the fifth volume hits the bookshelves on Thursday.

Lisbeth Salander is back in fifth Millennium book
Author David Lagercrantz. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

The new book by the 55-year-old David Lagercrantz, titled 'The Girl Who Takes an Eye For an Eye', promised to reveal more secrets surrounding the mysterious Salander's troubled childhood and the true meaning behind her iconic dragon-shaped tattoo.

When Lagercrantz's 'The Girl in the Spider's Web', which received mixed reviews, was launched in 2015, he was met with overcrowded press conferences, journalists waiting in the queue for interviews, and he signed books until midnight.

The launch of the fifth volume is more low key as Lagercrantz will make no public appearance until he kicks off his book tour on September 10th.

'The Girl in the Spider's Web' was the first to continue the trilogy conceived by Stieg Larsson, who became one of the world's best-loved crime writers.

But Larsson's fame came posthumously as he died at the age of 50 from a heart attack in 2004, a year before the release of the first book in the series, 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo', followed by 'The Girl Who Played with Fire' (2006) and 'The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest' (2007).

'More banal'

While many Larsson fans rejoiced over the continuation of the trilogy when Lagercrantz was selected to write the fourth book, some – including Larsson's longtime partner Eva Gabrielsson – vehemently opposed him taking up the torch, calling him “a totally idiotic choice”.

“Everybody was very curious. We wanted to see if he was going to succeed,” Kerstin Bergman, literature professor at Lund University, told AFP.

“It was a good crime novel, very different from Stieg Larsson's,” she said, referring to the fourth book, which sold six million copies in 47 countries.

“There were introspective characters,” Bergman added.

Lagercrantz intends to transform the series and convince those who criticize his endeavour.

But as much as readers can't get enough of Salander's punk-rock style and feminist flair, the hype over Lagercrantz's continuation of the series is not what it used to be.

“Now it's more banal. People love characters and want to read about their adventures,” said Bergman, who is also a specialist in Nordic Noir, a genre that mixes crime fiction and social criticism.

“Continuing the series as it did is extremely unusual (…) it's an exclusively commercial project, but the choice of Lagercrantz is probably the best,” Bergman said.

'More sensitive character'

In 'The Girl Who Takes an Eye For an Eye', Lagercrantz throws Salander “into the worst prison for women, where she immediately encounters a lot of problems”, he told AFP in the spring.

Alongside Salander, readers will find Mikael Blomqvist, a talented investigative journalist who's also worn out by life.

As the duo investigate the abuse of power and the social injustice that Salander has gone through, they try to overcome new obstacles.

And if the author believes that Salander has seen enough in the previous crime novels, then the worst may be yet to come.

Lagercrantz has admitted that bringing this young woman with a dark past back to life in the books has caused him a headache. Contrary to Stieg Larsson, Lagercrantz said he would have chosen a heroine with a “sweeter, nicer and more sensitive” character.

In a relentless search for inspiration, Lagercrantz wrote on his publishing company's website that he interviewed “doctors, archivists, robotics researchers, Bangladeshi bloggers threatened to death” and visited a prison in south-eastern Sweden.

'The Girl Who Takes an Eye For an Eye' is to be published in 34 countries. Twenty-six of these countries, including Sweden, Britain, the United States, Germany and France, will release the book on Thursday.

A former journalist, Lagercrantz was previously best known for his biography of footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Lagercrantz has also signed on to write the sixth book, which he insisted would be his last in the series.

Article written by AFP's Camille Bas-Wohlert