Michael Gudinski, the founder of Mushroom Records and a towering figure in Australian entertainment, died on Mar. 1 at the age of 68.
Mushroom Group, the entertainment company founded by Gudinski when he was only 20 years old, confirmed he died in his sleep at his home in Melbourne.
Founded in 1972, Mushroom Group has become the largest independent entertainment group in Australia, covering publishing, booking agencies, touring, film and television production, and creative services. Frontier Touring, founded in 1979 by Gudinski under the Mushroom brand, is now one of the biggest concert promotion companies in Australia and New Zealand.
“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.”
Celebrities from both Australia and the world are paying tribute to Gudinski on social media.
Rock star Jimmy Barnes praised Gudinski as “a staunch friend, a loving father and grandfather”, and an adoring husband to his wife ina thread on Twitter.
“He 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,” Barnes said.
“He was there for everyone that needed him. The music business turned, grew and moved forward in Australia because of Michael. He was a force of nature, a giant of a man.”
Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe said Gudinski is “a towering figure on the Australian cultural landscape”.
“I’m not sure we ever agreed on anything…” Crowe tweeted. “Still didn’t stop us from being mates for 30 years. I’m going to miss him deeply. My love to his family.”
Australian singer Dannii Minogue, whose music career was launched by Gudinski, called him “Australia’s music legend”.
“I will forever be grateful for the opportunity he gave me to release my first single and album and the journey that it took me on for so many years,” said Minogue in a post on Twitter.
“He was always there cheering me on, and I will never forget that.” “The loss will be felt forever, but his legacy will also live on forever.”
In the face of the COVID-19’s impact on the industry, Gudinski recently developed platforms “Music From The Home Front” and “The Sound and The State Of Music” to showcase and support contemporary Australian music.
“Michael often referred to his 200+ staff as the Mushroom Family, with many having clocked decades in his employment,” said the company. “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.”