Tributes are pouring in for Australian rock powerhouse Michael Gudinski AM, the founder of Mushroom Records, Frontier Touring and Premier Artists, after he died suddenly overnight. He was 68 years old.
A figure in the Aussie music scene for over 50 years, Gudinski was instrumental in the careers of generations of musicians, from Kylie Minogue to Split Enz to Eskimo Joe.
Mushroom Group confirmed his passing in a statement released today.
“It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Michael Gudinski AM overnight,” the statement said.
“The much-loved Australian music legend died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Melbourne, Australia.
“Michael’s legacy will live on through his family and the enormously successful Mushroom Group – an enduring embodiment of decades of passion and determination from an incredible man.”
Gudinski is survived by his wife, Sue, his children Kate and Matt, and his grandchildren.
The condolences to Gudinski’s family and celebrations of his pivotal contribution to the Aussie music landscape are flowing in from music fans, musicians and figures in the media industry alike, including Russell Crowe and comedian Joel Creasey.
On Twitter, Crowe called Michael Gudinski a “towering figure on the Australian cultural landscape”.
He joked, “I’m not sure we ever agreed on anything, except maybe @edsheeran . Still didn’t stop us from being mates for 30 years. I’m going to miss him deeply.”
RIP Michael Gudinski. Seems almost impossible. A towering figure on the Australian cultural landscape.
I’m not sure we ever agreed on anything, except maybe @edsheeran . Still didn’t stop us from being mates for 30 years. I’m going to miss him deeply. My love to his family.
— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) March 2, 2021
Sad to hear about the passing of the legendary Michael Gudinski. He was my tour promoter for a brief period and stayed a friend even when I moved elsewhere. Saw him not 3 weeks ago holding court at a restaurant as only he could. A genius ❤️
— Joel Creasey (@joelcreasey) March 2, 2021
Can’t believe Michael Gudinski has died. I always thought he was indestructible. He was a force of nature. He loved his artists and was very protective of them/us. His energy was simultaneously calm and quantum high. He could write a PROPER “The Art of the Deal”. Shalom.
— Rhys Muldoon (@rhysam) March 2, 2021
Gudinski’s first international tour, with Frontier, was The Police. I ran away from home to see them.
— Rhys Muldoon (@rhysam) March 2, 2021
Michael Gudinski has died but nobody can stop his music.😪👏🕊.
— FatherBob (@FatherBob) March 2, 2021
Musicians like Alex Lahey, Jimmy Barnes, Ben Lee, Briggs, Hilltop Hoods and David Campbell also posted about Gudinski’s impact on Australian culture and on their personal lives.
Vale Michael Gudinski. An very sad and shocking day for Australian music. Sending my love to the Gudinski family, the Mushroom family, friends and colleagues of MG. What a legacy. Always number one ☝️
— Alex Lahey (@AlexLahey) March 2, 2021
Michael Gudinski was a force of nature. Big love to ya, mate ❤️https://t.co/utrwV5rsJ6
— Ben Lee (@benleemusic) March 2, 2021
Michael Gudinski did a lot for people within the music industry and for the people of Australia, particularly over the last couple of years. Our thoughts are with his friends and family. Very sad news.
— Hilltop Hoods (@hilltophoods) March 2, 2021
We finally caught up face to face last week, I was meant to call ya back today mate. Michael Gudinski, what a powerhouse. Rest easy.
— Senator Briggs (Biblically Accurate) (@Briggs) March 1, 2021
This is truly devastating news. Not just for the music industry which he built nearly single handedly, but for his family, who he adored. A giant. Michael Gudinski dead aged 68, industry in shock | Herald Sun https://t.co/Z8nOGwFpQf
— David Campbell OAM (@DavidCampbell73) March 1, 2021
Jimmy Barnes wrote a lengthy tribute to Michael Gudinski on Twitter, writing that he had “stood with me through my darkest moments and my most joyous days”.
“Michael was the rock I reached for when life tried to wash me away. He never closed his door or his heart to me and my family.
“The music business turned, grew and moved forward in Australia because of Michael,” he added.
“His boundless enthusiasm breathed life into our music scene. But that was just one side of Michael. He was a staunch friend, a loving father and grandfather and an adoring husband to Sue.
“I loved Michael, always will,” he concluded.
Today the heart of Australian music was ripped out. I felt it, my family felt it, the music business felt it , the world felt it. Michael Gudinski was not only that heart but he was my friend. (Tweet 1/5) pic.twitter.com/Mcck1GOcrX
— Jimmy Barnes (@JimmyBarnes) March 2, 2021
Labor MP Tony Burke dubbed Gudinski “half larrikin half genius”, while former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett praised his efforts to keep the music industry afloat during COVID-19, with The Sound on ABC and live-streamed music series The State Of Music.
I’ll put out a more formal statement later today.
I counted Michael Gudinski as a friend. I liked him a lot. I’ll miss him a lot. The story of Australian music will always have Michael in a lead role. Half larrikin half genius, he made sure our nation had its own soundtrack.
— Tony Burke (@Tony_Burke) March 2, 2021
The music has been paused with Michael Gudinski’s death.
He has keep us in colour and movement for decades.
He delivered joy and more recently hope as we came out of the pandemic.
To Sue and family my profound condolences.
Vale Michael and thank you.
— Jeff Kennett (@jeff_kennett) March 2, 2021
Gudinski was a lifelong fan of St Kilda in the AFL, who also paid their respects to the industry giant.
Today we mourn the loss of an Australian music giant and lifelong Saint.
Vale, Michael Gudinski. pic.twitter.com/08YS2oZUeI
— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) March 2, 2021
Music writer and media personality Myf Warhurst described Michael Gudinski as “such a character and so full of life”.
Utterly shocked to hear about the death of Michael Gudinski. Such a character and so full of life. What an extraordinary legacy he leaves. My condolences to his family.
— Myf Warhurst (@MyfWarhurst) March 1, 2021
A number of other journalists have also shared their tributes to the late music great.
I am gutted to hear the passing of Michael Gudinski. MG was so supportive of me as a presenter and a delight to work for during The Sound. Beyond that, he continued to check in for a chat and ask about my endo and my book. We loved to talk shit but he was always for the music.
— Bridget Hustwaite (@BHustwaite) March 2, 2021
I am so so saddened to hear that Michael Gudinski has passed away. A giant of the music industry and just a great mate to so many of us. He entered every room and every conversation with energy and passion and am thinking of Sue and his family today who he just loved so much. pic.twitter.com/6euofUo4tU
— Carrie Bickmore (@BickmoreCarrie) March 2, 2021
He found and celebrated the music that became the soundtrack of our lives – and he loved it and danced it just as we did. It was always a joy to be in his company. The death of Michael Gudinski at just 68 is devastating. pic.twitter.com/0rIXWbaVBO
— Virginia Trioli (@LaTrioli) March 2, 2021
Fkkkking hell this is awful news about Michael Gudinski. Always loved watching him work a room, gliding between handshakes, personal jokes, scathing asides & dropping trinkets of knowledge.
And what a legacy. #RIPMichaelGudinski pic.twitter.com/BOfgkmEIDe
— Mikey Cahîll (@JoeyLightbulb) March 2, 2021
I am devastated by Michael Gudinski’s sudden death. He was a true champion of Australian music and the ABC. This was backstage after the Oils gig in Sydney on Thursday night. Michael was his typical boisterous, funny self. He was always so full of life. Rest In Peace, friend. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/gVpCMeYLpn
— Michael Rowland (@mjrowland68) March 2, 2021
Shocked and gutted at the news of the death of Michael Gudinski.
A legend of the music industry… not only in Australia but worldwide.
A generous man who was always the life of the party.
He’ll be sadly missed. Condolences to Sue and the family.
— Stephen Quartermain (@Quartermain10) March 1, 2021
Horrific news to hear of the death of Michael Gudinski. The man who shaped the Australian music industry. The hardest working, generous and most loyal figure you’ll ever meet. Watch over us Michael RIP ❤️
— Ryan Fitzgerald (@FitzySA) March 2, 2021
Can’t think of a single person more prolifically passionate and optimistic about Australian music over so long than Michael Gudinski. I’m properly devastated by this.
— nic kelly (@nicwkelly) March 1, 2021
Music journo Bernard Zuel summed up the tributes with nuance, acknowledging that Michael Gudinski had made “big mistakes & great enemies”. “[B]ut you don’t make a mark & leave a legacy as huge as his without greatness – of vision, adventure & passion”.
You don’t do as much & get as far as Michael Gudinski did without big mistakes & great enemies, but you don’t make a a mark & leave a legacy as huge as his without greatness – of vision, adventure & passion. A genuine giant of Australian culture.
— Bernard Zuel (@BernardZuel) March 2, 2021
Cheers for the all the tunes, Gudinski.