Stefan Karl Stefansson

Hasan Ahmed - 2N Nanotechnology
Posted on: March 15, 2018

In early March 2018, Stefan Karl Stefansson tweeted, “It’s not until they tell you you’re going to die soon that you realize how short life is. Time is the most valuable thing in life because it never comes back. And whether you spend it in the arms of a loved one or alone in a prison-cell, life is what you make of it. Dream big.” The actor most known for his portrayal of Robbie Rotten in the TV series Lazy Town and the subject of a very popular recurring meme has been diagnosed with a new metastases that is inoperable. Stefansson had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in late 2016. Since then he’s gotten past several treatments of his stage 4 diagnosis and a serious infection in June of 2017.

Fans of Stefansson poured out tons of support in this time period. A GoFundMe was started in October of 2016 to raise money for his cancer treatment, rolling in around $170 000 by the end of the campaign. Millions of videos had been posted throughout the year, renditions of his famous “We Are Number One” song from Lazy Town and many others, most of which had the GoFundMe linked in the description. As of his most recent diagnosis, over ten million videos based on Robbie Rotten have been posted. On December 11, 2016, shortly after a major surgery and around the time he started his first chemotherapy session, he showed his support back to his fans by performing a live version of the song with the old cast. Fans continued their support through his treatment, and in June of 2017 he underwent surgery and chemotherapy, battling a serious infection at the time.

Around August, about a month after his 42nd birthday, he had announced that he was cancer-free “for now” after receiving treatment on his liver for bile-duct cancer. Sadly, just a few days ago he received this new, untreatable diagnosis. His wife, Steinunn Ólína Þorsteinsdóttir, wrote a post, which translated to, “Even though I knew for a long time that this day would come, it’s a difficult turning point. There is no cure for this. Now he will have to undergo chemotherapy to try to prolong his life and we hope that this will go as well is possibly can, to improve how he feels and to prolong his life.”  

Since Stefan’s initial diagnosis in 2016, we have seen what I like to call “the unprecedented philanthropism of internet degenerates”. How did memes turn from unfunny rage comics depicting relatable humour to such a strong, altruistic tool? Where did the internet come from? Well, with a figurehead who’s been such a cornerstone of many users’ childhoods, it makes sense. Fans were running this meme into the ground, but rather than for reddit karma, it was for the purpose of the GoFundMe and to see this man continue to make content for the people he loved. Stefan has also been very open about giving feedback and complements. He has stated that these videos make him laugh so hard, and as mentioned before, his livestream and re-enactment was a large thank you to his fanbase. What can we give a man who’s given so much to us?

One thing we’ll know is that he was very true to his family. His wife stated, “Some days we feel very low, some days we are happy and then we are happy about all that we have accomplished together and lived together. Nobody can take that away from [the whole family], however this goes. Not even death itself.” And with the livelihood Robbie Rotten and his other roles have provided us in our childhood years, it makes it hard for us to potentially say goodbye to someone who lived a life so humble and pure.

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