Sophie, Grammy-nominated artist, dies aged 34 in 'terrible accident'

SOPHIE at the 2016 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival.
SOPHIE at the 2016 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival. Photo credit: Getty

Grammy-nominated artist Sophie Xeon has died aged 34 following a "terrible accident" in the Greek capital of Athens, according to the star's record label.

The Glasgow-born disc jockey, producer and recording artist, known mononymously as SOPHIE, has been hailed as a "pioneer of a new sound" and an "icon of liberation" in a series of tributes.

"Tragically, our beautiful Sophie passed away this morning after a terrible accident," Transgressive Records said in a statement.

The label said the star "accidentally slipped and fell" after climbing to "watch the full moon" in the early hours of Saturday morning (local time).

A police spokesperson confirmed to the Associated Press (AP) that SOPHIE slipped and fell from the balcony of an apartment in Athens, where the artist had been living. They said no foul play was suspected and the investigation is ongoing.

SOPHIE, who began releasing music in 2013, had worked with the likes of English singer-songwriter Charlie XCX and pop icon Madonna, co-writing the star's 2015 single, 'Bitch I'm Madonna'.

In 2017, SOPHIE came out as transgender in the music video for the single, 'It's Okay To Cry', the first time the producer's voice and image had been used in a release. SOPHIE's first and only studio album, Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides, was released in 2018 and received a Grammy nomination for Best Dance/Electronic Album.

In an emotional tribute, French singer-songwriter Christine and the Queens described SOPHIE as "a stellar producer, a visionary and a reference".

"She rebelled against the narrow, normative society by being an absolute triumph, both as an artist and as a woman," she said.

"I can't believe she is gone. We need to honor and respect her memory and legacy. Cherish the pioneers."

One transgender fan tweeted: "As a trans woman, Sophie's music and message of empowerment means so much to me - more than I could ever put to words. 

"She is and will always be a true icon of the community who gave us a voice and an outlet."

Discussing gender identity in an interview with PAPER magazine in 2018, SOPHIE said that identifying as trans 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". 

"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."