Molly Meldrum has issued a moving public statement following the death of close friend and fellow Australian music legend Michael Gudinski on Monday.

Gudinski's sudden death of a heart attack at the age of 68 sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry here in Australia and worldwide, with A-listers like Bruce Springsteen, Kylie Minogue and Ed Sheeran paying tribute to the larger-than-life Mushroom Group founder, a key figure in shaping the Australian music industry.

Now, having taken a few days to mourn and collect his thoughts, Meldrum has issued a detailed statement about the loss of his "best friend".

Molly and Michael in 2012.
Molly and Michael in 2012.

Here's Molly's statement, in full:

"I am unable to translate into words what I am feeling right now. Not only have we lost an icon who was the cornerstone of the Australian music industry, I have lost a best friend, a brother. Michael and Sue are family to me. They have been a staple in my life forever. Right now, my love, support and focus are with Sue, Matt, Kate and the grandchildren. The void that is felt is immeasurable; I honestly find his passing very difficult to comprehend.

Michael and I have been friends for over 50 years and the deep respect we had for each other was profound. He was a huge influence in my life. Like me, Michael's passion for music is unwavering. He dreamed big, worked hard, and had the tenacity, energy, and determination to drive all his ambitions home. Failure was never part of his vocabulary.

 

Molly Meldrum (L) with Michael Gudinski: ‘Failure was never part of his vocabulary.’
Molly Meldrum (L) with Michael Gudinski: ‘Failure was never part of his vocabulary.’

He helped place Australian music on the world map. He not only guided aspiring artists into unfathomable stardom, but he also brought the world's biggest artists to the Australian stage. He was the life force behind live music. He was unstoppable.

Music was the base and core of our friendship. We are both stubborn as hell and we would often laugh as we traded a tirade of insults to each other. I challenged him and he challenged me and as I have said many times before, Michael and I have had more dramas than Shakespeare and more laughs than Seinfeld. We really were like Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon in Grumpy Old Men.

 

Gudinski and Molly Meldrum with Tina Arena in the late ’90s.
Gudinski and Molly Meldrum with Tina Arena in the late ’90s.

From allowing Ziggy to give him kisses and licks whenever he was in sight, to putting up with my antics on a daily basis, Michael was a great friend. My most recent and now treasured memory was spending Christmas Day last year with the Gudinskis. We had an incredible day AND believe it or not, Michael and I did not disagree or argue once for the entire nine hours we were together!

Michael's legacy will echo through the entertainment industry forever. He came and he conquered. He has left a giant footprint in the heart and soul of the music industry.

If there was a song that could sum up how I am feeling, it would have to be the Bee Gee's 1971 hit, How Can You Mend A Broken Heart. He will forever be missed."

Meldrum also released this picture from his personal photo album, showing him with Gudinski and his wife Sue:

 

Molly Meldrum (left) with Sue and Michael Gudinski.
Molly Meldrum (left) with Sue and Michael Gudinski.

Gudinski is survived by Sue, their children Matt and Kate, and two grandchildren. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed on Wednesday that Gudinski would be honoured with a state funeral.

Mr Andrews said Gudinski would be remembered "somewhere iconic that we can come together and celebrate his life".

"It will be a celebration of his life; the details will be finalised in coming days. It's got to be COVID-safe of course, but I think we will be able to come together in an iconic venue and celebrate his life and the mark that he made and the legacy he leaves," he said.

 

 

Originally published as Molly's heartbreaking public statement


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