Pioneering electronic musician Sophie has died “following a sudden accident” in Athens, Greece, around 4am today (Saturday, January 30). The out artist was just 34 years old.
“At this time respect and privacy for the family is our priority. We would also ask for respect for her fanbase, and to treat the private nature of this news with sensitivity,” Sophie’s management told The Guardian, adding how the artist was “a pioneer of a new sound, one of the most influential artists in the last decade. Not only for ingenious production and creativity but also for the message and visibility that was achieved. An icon of liberation.”
Sophie’s U.K. record label, Transgressive, revealed more details about the tragic accident: “True to her spirituality she had climbed up to watch the full moon and accidentally slipped and fell. She will always be here with us.”
Sophie Xeon was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, and first hit the electronic music scene with the single “Nothing More to Say” in 2013. Sophie’s 2018 debut album, Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides, was released to critical acclaim and eventually nominated for Best Dance/Electronic Album at the 2019 Grammy Awards. The singer-producer collaborated with other pop artists like Charlie XCX, Kim Petras, and co-wrote Madonna’s 2015 single, “Bitch, I’m Madonna.” Sophie also performed at the 2019 Coachella music festival.
Sophie was trans, and in a 2018 interview with Paper magazine, the singer spoke candidly about identity:
An embrace of the essential idea of transness changes everything because it means there’s no longer an expectation based on the body you were born into, or how your life should play out and how it should end. Traditional family models and structures of control disappear… For me, transness is taking control to bring your body more in line with your soul and spirit so the two aren’t fighting against each other and struggling to survive. On this earth, it’s that you can get closer to how you feel your true essence is without the societal pressures of having to fulfill certain traditional roles based on gender. It means you’re not a mother or a father — you’re an individual who’s looking at the world and feeling the world. And it’s somehow more human and universal.
Among those paying tribute to Sophie was Chris of Christine and the Queens, who tweeted how Sophie was “a stellar producer, a visionary, a reference. She rebelled against the narrow, normative society by being an absolute triumph, both as an artist and as a woman. I can’t believe she is gone.”
Sophie was a stellar producer, a visionary, a reference. She rebelled against the narrow, normative society by being an absolute triumph, both as an artist and as a woman. I can’t believe she is gone. We need to honor and respect her memory and legacy. Cherish the pioneers. pic.twitter.com/3kyRl1KabY
— Christine and the queens (@QueensChristine) January 30, 2021
Rina Sawayama also tweeted out her condolences, proclaiming “the world and our community has lost a beautiful soul.”
RIP SOPHIE u were the sweetest – an icon and a visionary. the world and our community has lost a beautiful soul pic.twitter.com/Nxbvx3hsSU
— RINA SAWAYAMA (@rinasawayama) January 30, 2021
Rest in peace, Sophie.