We reveal how Stromae contracted this illness…
Fans of Stromae, and music in general, are in mourning. On April 7, 2023, the Belgian artist with 1.8 million Instagram followers announced to his community the cancellation of all his concerts until the end of May due to serious health problems. The This is Riviera team will tell you more about the illness affecting Stromae…
How did it happen?
Stromae’s health issues began in 2015. Before going to Africa for a series of concerts, and according to the media Gala, Stromae took a preventive antimalarial treatment called Lariam, which contains Mefloquine, one of the four available treatments. However, taking this medication carries significant risks, as explained by the Pasteur Institute, and can lead to psychological disorders such as paranoia, anxiety, depression, psychosis, and suicidal thoughts. In 1991, one person out of 10,000 experienced « serious reactions » according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the pharmaceutical company Roche, which markets the drug.
Therefore, Stromae experienced the adverse effects of the medication, such as paranoia, anxiety, episodes of depression, psychosis, and even suicidal thoughts. These disorders can manifest as panic attacks, nightmares, confusion, or abnormal changes in behavior. In an interview, Stromae confessed, « Today, I am still sensitive to panic attacks. I have had to rush back to the hospital before. I have few regrets in my life, but if I could go back and avoid taking Lariam, I would do it without hesitation… I thought I had crossed into madness. After 150 shows, I was exhausted. I couldn’t tolerate my antimalarial treatment; it gave me hallucinations (…) I could have done something stupid; I wasn’t myself anymore. » Following these health problems, Stromae took a 6-year break from 2016 to 2022 before returning with his new album, « Multitudes. »
Thus, Stromae had to face these atrocious side effects, as well as an intense work pace that would take a toll on his health a few years later. Indeed, Paul Van Haver, his real name, is meticulous and perfectionistic. Always in pursuit of perfection and flawlessness, he imposes a very strict and drastic rhythm and work mode on himself. However, this eventually had a negative impact on his health, as he fell victim to burnout. In a past interview with Paris Match, the artist stated, « too much energy, fatigue, road trips… I was exhausted. » The combination of Lariam’s side effects and overexertion led him down the path of depression. In fact, during his appearance on TF1 in 2022, he sang, « I have sometimes had suicidal thoughts, and I’m not proud of it. Sometimes you think it’s the only way to silence those thoughts that make my life a living hell. »
The breakdown and tour cancellation
In light of what has been mentioned above, Stromae announced on April 7, 2023, the cancellation of his summer tour citing health concerns. It should be noted that depression is an unpredictable and dormant illness; therefore, it only needs a trigger to manifest. And Stromae’s trigger was burnout. With a health already weakened by the side effects of Lariam and burnout, depression found the ideal target in the artist and exploded within him. It is believed that his illness is playing tricks on him, and he doesn’t have the necessary energy. This is Riviera’s opinion is that Stromae is not yet cured and is not psychologically ready to handle the pace of touring and the pressure that comes with it. It is believed that his mental health is very fragile for him to return to the stage. In fact, we consulted a psychologist to support our thesis, and he confirmed that it is very difficult to recover from depression, especially since the side effects of this antimalarial treatment can last up to 10 years before his body eliminates them permanently. Therefore, he is not out of the woods yet and is not likely to return to the stage anytime soon.
In conclusion, we wish him a speedy recovery from the bottom of our hearts and hope that he will come back stronger than ever, but he needs to take care of himself and his health to do so.