Swedish European Tour winner Fredrik Andersson Hed has died aged just 49 following a battle with cancer.
Initially known as Fredrik Andersson, he added wife Anna’s surname to his own when they married in 2004. The couple went on to have two children, Viggo and Molly.
Born in the city of Halmstad, Andersson Hed caught the golf bug aged ten, when he accumulated 72 stableford points in a competition on his way to victory.
He was a talented amateur player, winning the European Young Masters and Swedish Junior Stroke-Play Championship in 1990. He enjoyed team success two years later triumphing for Sweden in the European Youths' Team Championship, and in the same year again represented his country in the Eisenhower Trophy, alongside Max Anglert, Rickart Strongert and future Ryder Cup player Niclas Fasth.
The professional ranks beckoned, and he found early success on the European Challenge Tour, winning the 2003 Toyota PGA Championship. He added a second Challenge Tour title at Le Touquet seven years later as he battled to establish himself on the European Tour, visiting Qualifying School on a number of occasions.
That hard work and perseverance paid off in 2010 when, in his 245th European Tour appearance, he sealed victory at the Italian Open, holding on for a gritty one shot victory as England’s David Horsey whittled down his six shot overnight lead.
It would prove to be Andersson Hed’s most successful season on the European Tour, reaching 22nd place in the rankings thanks to a runner-up finish at the prestigious BMW PGA Championship and five additional top tens. The pick of those results was an impressive tied sixth finish at the WGC-HSBC Champions, alongside global stars including Ernie Els and Tiger Woods, as future Major winner and Ryder Cup star Francesco Molinari lifted the trophy.
The following year Andersson Hed represented Europe in the Royal Trophy, as captain Colin Montgomerie’s side defeated Asia 9-7. There were close calls in his bid to add to his European Tour wins too, with runner up finishes in the 2011 Scottish Open and both the Omega European Masters and Hong Kong Open in 2012.
He retired from golf in 2015 after 358 European Tour appearances, with a record that reads one victory, six runner-up spots, 31 top tens and 191 cuts made.
European Tour Chief Operating Officer Keith Waters paid tribute to him, saying:
“On behalf of the European Tour, I send our deepest condolences to Fredrik’s family and friends, particularly his wife Anna and children Viggo and Molly. It’s always incredibly sad when we lose a member of the European Tour family, and never more so than in the case of someone like Fredrik, who was taken far too soon.
“Fredrik was much loved in the golfing world and beyond, particularly amongst our Scandinavian players and staff, past and present. Our hearts go out to them at this incredibly sad time.
“I had the pleasure of knowing Fredrik, but even for those who didn’t, one glance at his career record highlights his strength and perseverance, with some genuinely wonderful moments as an individual and a valued team mate. I hope those close to him take some comfort in those wonderful memories, and the joy he brought to so many on the golf course.”
Tributes have flooded in for Fredrik, from across the golf world:
I’m so deeply saddened by this.— Thomas Bjørn (@thomasbjorngolf) October 24, 2021
Freddie was a true professional that will be missed by us all.
A great ambassador for our game and for Sweden.
Thoughts are with Anna, Viggo and Molly at this time.
We remember the good times together……Today we lost a friend and travel companion during many years on @EuropeanTour. Your friendship, smile and laughter …… you left us way to early Fredrik and our thoughts are with Anna, Viggo and Molly and the rest of the family.❤️ pic.twitter.com/YvDGPYOdAd— Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) October 24, 2021
Absolutely gutted to hear this news of the passing of one of the nicest guys you could wish to meet. My thoughts are with his family and friends. https://t.co/sVz22uyuR5— Graeme Storm (@stormygraeme) October 24, 2021
Very sad to hear of the death of Fredrik Andersson Hed. One of the nicest guys on Tour and always a pleasure to share the fairways with.— Andrew Coltart (@AndrewColtart) October 24, 2021
We are so sorry to learn of the passing today of Fredrik Andersson Hed. He was a gentleman in the truest sense and our thoughts are with his family. A sad day. pic.twitter.com/fqNCN1g8Sm— Caddie World (@caddie_world) October 24, 2021
With great sadness we have learnt that our former player Fredrik Andersson Hed had passed away from cancer. We shall always remember him as a talented golfer and kind genuine man.— International Sports Management (@TeamISM) October 24, 2021
Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/iqQuWNpt2W
‘Horsey beaten by a Hed’ was the headline I had given when the much-loved Swede Fredrik Andersson Hed won the Italian Open. So sad to know he is no longer with us. Truly a gentleman golfer. #RIP— Joy Chakravarty (@TheJoyofGolf) October 24, 2021
Such sad news. Another good man gone. RIP Fred.— Tony Johnstone (@TonyJohnstone56) October 24, 2021