The Australian music sector is in mourning this morning, following reports that famed music entrepreneur and businessman Michael Gudinski AM has passed away overnight at the age of 68.
According to a report by The Industry Observer, it is understood that Gudinski passed away on the evening of Monday, March 1st, having suffered a fatal heart attack.
In a statement offered by the Mushroom Group this morning, the company acknowledged Gudinski’s passing and praised him for his contributions to the local music scene.
“It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Michael Gudinski AM overnight,” the statement read. “The much-loved Australian music legend died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Melbourne, Australia.”
Born in Melbourne in 1952, Gudinski, began a casual career in the music industry as a teenager promoting local dances, before beginning agency work in the late ’60s, eventually forming the Consolidated Rock agency with Michael Browning.
However, it was in the early ’70s that Gudinski hit his stride, forming Mushroom Records with Ray Evans in 1972. Launching the label with a triple-record live release of the 1973 Sunbury festival, the group continued to promote up-and-coming Australian rock outfits before finding massive success by way of Skyhooks’ Living in The 70’s album in 1974.
A prominent force on the Australian music scene, Mushroom Records continued to grow, soon becoming one of the country’s biggest labels, releasing some of the most acclaimed records by some of the country’s most beloved acts throughout the next few decades.
In 1979, Gudinski founded the Frontier Touring Company, which remains one of the largest promoters in Australia and New Zealand, and has frequently been listed as the top promoter in the country, and one of the best-performing internationally by trade publication Pollstar.
In recent decades, Gudinski has also received numerous industry accolades, including a Special Achievement ARIA Award, and his recognition as an ARIA Industry Icon in 2013. In 1998, Gudinski received the Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music at the APRA Music Awards, and in 2006, was made a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Over the last year, Gudinski has been instrumental in his support of the Australian live music scene, teaming up with the likes of the Victorian government and Visit Victoria to announce the likes of the State of Music television program, the Sounds Better Together concert series, and last year’s Music From the Home Front special, which topped the ARIA charts upon being given a physical release.
As per The Music Network, Gudinski’s death comes just weeks before he was set to announce yet another project with the Victorian government to aid the state’s music industry.
“Michael was renowned for his loyalty and dedication,” the statement from Mushroom Group added. “His ability to achieve the unachievable against unsurmountable odds was proven time and again and spoke to his absolute passion for his career and life.
“Michael’s family loved him immensely and Michael in turn adored his wife Sue, son Matt and partner Cara, daughter Kate and husband Andrew and their children Nina-Rose and Lulu. They meant everything to him, and he was immensely proud of them. Michael often referred to his 200+ staff as the Mushroom Family, with many having clocked decades in his employment.
“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,” it concluded.