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.”

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.

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.

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.

Gudinski was a lifelong fan of St Kilda in the AFL, who also paid their respects to the industry giant.

Music writer and media personality Myf Warhurst described Michael Gudinski as “such a character and so full of life”.

A number of other journalists have also shared their tributes to the late music great.

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”.

Cheers for the all the tunes, Gudinski.

Image: Getty Images / David Teuma