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Sweden's Alice Babs passes away aged 90

12 February 2014 at 11:47 CET

In 1958 Sweden debuted at the Eurovision Song Contest, which that year was held in Hilversum, the Netherlands. Ahead of the competition, Alice Babs was chosen to represent her country with the song Lilla stjärna, finishing in a very respectable 4th place.

On Tuesday Alice sadly passed away as a result of Alzheimers Disease. Her lawyer said, "she died peacefully, surrounded by her family".

Her daughter, Titti Sjöblom said, "we cherished the last few months we got to spend with our dear mother. She was comfortable and in peace when she died".

Early Life and career

Born Hildur Alice Nilsson on 26th January 1924 in Västervik, Sweden, Alice grew up in a very musical household. Her father was a cinema pianist and her mother often sung for her and her siblings when she was a child.

She had an immense passion for jazz music and recalls hearing Duke Ellington's Orchestra on a trip to Sweden in 1939.

In 1940 Alice had her breakthrough, appearing in the film Swing it, magistern, subsequently becoming a symbol of jazz music in her native Sweden.

In total Alice Babs appeared in more than 20 films. As mentioned above, she was Sweden's first entry at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1958 with a song that has become an evergreen in the Swedish cultural sphere.

After returning from Hilversum with a respectable 4th place under her hat, Alice went on to form a partnership with Svend Asmussen and Ulrik Neuman called Swe-Danes, which became a huge success and even toured the USA. In fact, Alice even appeared on the legendary Ed Sullivan show.

Later career

Later in life, Alice had a varied and fruitful career, including working with Duke Ellington, whose orchestra she had listened to when she was a teenager.

She also had a go at presenting and in 1972 became the first non-opera singer to be named the Royal Court Singer. Subsequently, she went on to become a member of the Royal Academy of Music.

From 1943 until his death, Alice Babs was married to Nils Ivar Sjöblom. The pair had three children together. Their daughter Titti Sjöblom is a well-known singer in her own right and among other things took part in the Swedish national selection, Melodifestivalen, in 1974 with the song Fröken Ur-sång.

Our condolences go to Alice Bab's family.