Stieg Larsson Biography

Karl Stig-Erland “Stieg” Larsson, a Swedish journalist, activist, and writer, is best known for his crime novels of the ‘Millennium trilogy’. Despite his leftist political views and extensive work in journalism, Larsson gained international acclaim for his fiction writing. His novels, published posthumously, have become best sellers and have been adapted into films. Larsson’s immense popularity as an author is evident through his numerous awards and the success of his novels, which continue to dominate the best seller charts.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Karl Stig-Erland Larsson
  • Died At Age: 50
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Eva Gabrielsson (Partner)
    • Father: Erland Larsson
    • Mother: Vivianne Boström
    • Siblings: Joakim Larsson
  • Occupation: Novelist
  • Nationality: Swedish
  • Died on: November 9, 2004
  • Place of Death: Stockholm, Sweden
  • Ideology: Communists
  • Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Childhood & Early Life

Karl Stig-Erland Larsson was born on August 15, 1954, in Umeå, Västerbottens län, Sweden. His parents, Erland Larsson and Vivianne Larsson, had a strong political influence in their home. Karl’s father was a Communist and his mother was a noted Social Democrat. When Karl’s father had to leave his job due to arsenic poisoning, the family moved to Stockholm and decided to leave Karl with his grandparents. He was raised by his grandparents in the countryside of Bjursele until the age of nine. During this time, he attended the village school and used cross-country skis to travel to school during snowy winters. Karl’s grandfather, Severin Boström, was an anti-fascist and a political activist who influenced Karl’s personality and became his role model. After his grandfather’s death, Karl moved to Umea to be with his parents. His parents were avid readers of crime fiction, which influenced Karl’s later works. He developed a love for reading in his childhood and looked up to writers like Astrid Lindgren and Enid Blyton. At the age of twelve, he wrote his first novel in a notebook, and for his thirteenth birthday, his parents gifted him a typewriter.


During the early seventies, Karl actively participated in the science fiction fandom of Sweden. He attended the first science fiction convention, SF•72, held in Stockholm. He co-edited four issues of ‘Sfären’ and published short stories in amateur magazines. As he grew older, his writings shifted from science fiction to more journalistic and political subjects. He served in the Swedish Army for sixteen months as part of his mandatory military service. He became associated with a radical leftist group and edited a Trotskyist journal. In 1977, he went to Eritrea to train female guerrillas but had to leave due to kidney disease. After returning to Sweden, he worked as a graphic designer and journalist for a Swedish news agency. He also served on the boards of various science fiction societies and fan clubs.

In the 1980s, Karl became a regular writer for the ‘Socialist Party’ newspaper, ‘Internationalen.’ He independently researched right-wing extremism and published his first book on the subject in 1991. He co-founded the Swedish anti-racist magazine, ‘Expo,’ in 1995 and remained its editor-in-chief until his death. Despite his work as an activist and journalist, Karl gained international recognition for his posthumously published crime novels, known as the ‘Millennium trilogy.’ The first novel, ‘Män som hatar kvinnor,’ was published in 2005 and received numerous awards. The trilogy was translated into English and adapted into films.

Major Works

Karl Stig-Erland Larsson’s posthumously published crime novels, the ‘Millennium trilogy,’ sold over eighty million copies globally. The success of the trilogy led to the publication of a fourth book, written by David Lagercrantz, based on Larsson’s characters. The fourth book, titled ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web,’ was published in 2015.

Personal Life & Legacy

Karl was in a long-term relationship with Eva Gabrielsson, whom he met in 1972. They remained together throughout his life but could not marry due to security risks. Karl passed away on November 9, 2004, from a heart attack. His properties were left to the branch of the ‘Communist Workers League’ in his will, but the will was deemed invalid under Swedish law. His properties, including royalties from book sales, now belong to his father and brother. A dispute remains between Eva Gabrielsson and Karl’s family regarding control over his unfinished novel and his legacy.

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