Australian music industry icon Michael Gudinski has died suddenly, aged 68.
Mushroom Group, the entertainment business that Gudinski founded in 1972, confirmed he died in his sleep on Monday night at his Melbourne home.
The promoter and record label boss was a towering figure in Australian entertainment, with Mushroom expanding into touring, publishing, booking agencies and film and TV production.
Frontier Touring, founded under the Mushroom umbrella in 1979, is one of the key concert promotion companies in Australia and New Zealand.
Gudinski launched the music careers of fellow Melburnians Kylie and Dannii Minogue.
"A larger-than-life figure, Michael was widely respected for his unwavering passion for all music - in particular Australian music," a Mushroom statement said.
"Michael was renowned for his loyalty and dedication. 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."
Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe was among the first to post a tribute to Gudinski on social media.
"Seems almost impossible. A towering figure on the Australian cultural landscape," Crowe tweeted.
"I'm not sure we ever agreed on anything ... still didn't stop us from being mates for 30 years. I'm going to miss him deeply. My love to his family."
RIP Michael Gudinski. Seems almost impossible. A towering figure on the Australian cultural landscape.— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) March 2, 2021
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.
Federal Labor's arts spokesman Tony Burke said he counted 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," Mr Burke said.
Most recently, Gudinski developed the Music From The Home Front TV concert to showcase the local music industry as it struggled through the coronavirus pandemic.
Gudinski is survived by his wife Sue, son Matt, daughter Kate and two grandchildren.
"Michael often referred to his 200+ staff as the Mushroom Family, with many having clocked decades in his employment," the company said.
© AAP 2021
Photo: Michael Gudinski in 2009 (AAP Image/Julian Smith)
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
The passing of Michael Gudinski has left me in a state of shock. He was a true pioneer in the music industry and a man who believed in the development of artists like myself & many others. His friendship knew no bounds. He was a genuine original, & not replaceable. May you #RIP pic.twitter.com/RWGEZKQ9lA— Marcia Hines (@TheMarciaHines) March 2, 2021
MICHAEL GUDINSKI - Legend. Legacy. LOVE. A Titan of the music industry. One of a kind and forever family to me. My heart is broken and I can’t believe he’s gone. Irreplaceable and unforgettable, I’ll always love you ‘The Big G’. pic.twitter.com/vCk8BcpZbR— Kylie Minogue (@kylieminogue) March 2, 2021
A statement on the death of our great Australian promoter, Michael Gudinski. pic.twitter.com/4fJdY8n7Eb— Bruce Springsteen (@springsteen) March 2, 2021
Michael Gudinski was a force of nature; anyone who came into his orbit will never forget him. We had our ups and downs way back in the day but his passionate advocacy for Australian music was never in doubt. pic.twitter.com/3pynpTqPfS— Midnight Oil (@midnightoilband) March 2, 2021
Paul on the sad passing of Michael Gudinski. pic.twitter.com/A0zap0eL1K— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) March 2, 2021