Molly Meldrum pays tribute to Michael Gudinski: “I have lost a best friend, a brother”

"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.’"

Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum has shared a statement on the death of friend Michael Gudinski, founder of Mushroom Group, writing that he finds “his passing very difficult to comprehend”.

Gudinski died in his sleep overnight on Monday. He was 68-years old. Meldrum and Gudinski were lifelong friends, sparked by the early support of the Mushroom-signed group Skyhooks on the former’s music television show Countdown in the mid 1970s.

“I am unable to translate into words what I am feeling right now,” Meldrum said. “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.”

The former Countdown host said Gudinski “helped place Australian music on the world map”, and was “the life force behind live music”. But he spoke most of their 50-year long friendship, “a huge influence” in his life.

“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,” Meldrum said.

“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.”

Meldrum says his most recent and “treasured” memory of Gudinski was Christmas Day last year, which they spent together.

“We had an incredible day AND believe it or not, Michael and I did not disagree or argue
once for the entire 9 hours we were together!”

A press statement said Meldrum would not be participating in any interviews, as he is taking time to support and grieve with the Gudinski family.

“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 concluded.

Meldrum and Gudinski were depicted on screen in the 2016 mini-series Molly, played by Samuel Johnson and Aaron Glenane respectively. Gudinski was also the show’s executive producer. In an interview about the show, Gudinski said “There is no one who has done more for Australian music than Molly”.

Many local and international entertainment figures paid tribute to Gudinski in the wake of his passing this week, including Bruce SpringsteenKylie MinogueEd SheeranQueens Of The Stone Age, Russell Crowe, Alex LaheyCub SportBriggs and Garbage.