For artists reaching the top of the critically acclaimed mountain top, it comes with a rather undiscussed warning sign that fame has its perils. In 1993, the Met Police would intercept a sulphuric acid bomb destined for Icelandic singer and world-renowned alt-pop star Björk, sent by her long-time stalker Ricardo Lopez. Today, we revisit this sad and harrowing story.
When Björk arrived in London during the early nineties, she was determined to put herself in the spotlight. The singer began to play clubs and find her fame and fortune and, in 1993, began to receive the recognition she deserved for her truly original body of work. It was at this time that Ricardo Lopez’s obsession with the singer began.
At first, Björk provided Lopez with a welcomed escape from the pains of his childhood. It provided him with a sense of freedom from what he felt was an inescapable situation. Lopez suffered from Gynecomastia, which is a rare genetic disease that causes male breast tissue to grow abnormally large. While the effects of the sickness are largely cosmetic, the emotional and mental strain this would’ve had put on a young man is beyond understanding. Lopez, aged only 18 when he began watching a Björk video, became almost instantly infatuated with her, even using her as his muse for his artwork.
Lopez began creating a huge library of diaries dedicated to the singer. He also started recording videotape diaries in which he would chronicle not only his growing obsession, but to tell the tale through eleven two-hour tapes. The content depicts his sharp descent into depression and self-loathing, one that he could not reconcile with.
The breaking point for Lopez arrived when it was announced that Björk was dating musician and actor Goldie. Their relationship had started to gain traction in the press, and this provided the spark to ignite Lopez’s short fuse. The stalker soon decided that nobody could date the star, chillingly announcing: “I’m just going to have to kill her. I’m going to send a package. I’m going to be sending her to hell.”
This is not a new concept in the world of pop stars. Sadly, all too often, artists with substantial fame become the subjects of obsessive behaviour. But while many will peter out without significant incident, a handful of situations do end tragically. The most obvious case, of course, is John Lennon’s ‘fan’ and eventual murderer Mark Chapman who approached the former Beatle to ask for an autograph before shooting him dead. Lopez, though, was a little more twisted in his plans.
Hampered by geography (he was in America while Björk was in London) Lopez devised a way to navigate his murderous plot. He decided to send Björk a letterbomb. His original plan was to mail her a letterbomb filled with HIV contaminated syringes, in what must go down as one of the most disgustingly deranged plots ever conceived. When this became unfeasible, he settled on the equally upsetting bomb filled with sulphuric acid.
Lopez built the bomb inside a hollowed-out book which, when opened by the recipient, would spray sulphuric acid into her face and kill her. On September the 12th, he packaged up his device and sent the letter on to Björk’s London address. After sending the deadly package, he set his video diary to record and began to make his last wishes.
Lopez proceeded to paint his face and head red and green, inscribed racial slurs on his walls – in what was possibly another attempt at showing his hatred of Goldie – and played Björk’s ‘I Remember You’ in the background. From there, Lopez loaded his .38 calibre pistol, calmly stated “this is for you”, and took his own life, convinced that he would meet his idol in heaven.
Editor note: The video is currently available to view online but is so brutally shocking we have decided not to show it on our website.
When the downstairs neighbours of Lopez began to see blood dripping from the ceiling and into their apartment, they called the police. The cops arrived to find Lopez’s decomposing body surrounded by a heap of videotapes. One, still in the camera, was titled ‘The Last Day’ and was therefore watched first. Luckily, this allowed police to work with Scotland Yard to prevent Björk from opening the deadly package.
Björk released a statement once the news of the attempt on her life broke through to the tabloids. She appears in the video below, visibly shaken, defiant, and yet utterly compassionate. She describes her sadness for the situation and sends special wishes to Lopez’s family.
It’s an extremely twisted and yet very sad tale. A man who had lost the majority of his friends and family found solace in an artist and her work. It is of course sad to think something that could have been a light in Lopez’s life eventually became an inescapable darkness that would eventually consume him.