Ari Behn, the ex-husband of Princess Märtha Louise of Norway has been found dead at the age of 47.
The author and artist died by suicide on Christmas Day according to Geir Håkonsund, Behn’s manager.
“It is with sadness in our hearts that we, the closest relatives of Ari Behn, announce today that he has taken his life,” Håkonsund told Norwegian newspaper VG on behalf of Behn’s family.
“We ask for respect for our privacy in the coming time,” he added.
Behn and the Norwegian princess were married in 2002 although his status as a ‘commoner’ remained unchanged and he did not receive a title or special privileges.
The couple announced they were separating after 14 years together in 2016 and, in a first for the Norwegian royal family, were officially divorced the following year.
Behn and Princess Märtha Louise held joint custody of their three daughters, Maud Angelica, 16, Leah Isadora, 14 and 11-year-old Emma Tallulah.
Behn’s former father-in-law, Norway’s King Harald, 82, also released a statement later that evening, saying, “It is with great sadness that the Queen and I have received the message of Ari Behn’s passing”.
“Ari has been an important part of our family for many years, and we carry warm, fond memories of him. We are grateful that we got to know him.”
“We grieve that our grandchildren have now lost their dear father, and have deep compassion for his parents and siblings, who now have lost their dear son and brother. We ask that Ari's immediate family get some rest during this difficult time”.
Earlier on Christmas Day, Princess Märtha Louise is said to have attended church services in Oslo with their daughters along with the King and Queen Sonja and the princess’ new partner, Durek Verrett.
She and American shaman Durek, 45, announced their relationship in May this year.
Behn was known as a multi-talented creative, penning three novels, two collections of short stories and a book about his wedding, as well as a play.
The princess has yet to make a formal statement regarding her ex-husband’s passing.