Ed Sheeran has paid a lengthy tribute to the influential Australian music promoter Michael Gudinski, describing him as a “Titan of a man” following his death aged 68.
Gudinski, a towering figure in his country’s music scene, died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Melbourne earlier this week, according to his label, Mushroom Group.
At the time, Sheeran, who Gudinski had helped bring to Australia on tour, simply shared a picture of them together on a beach and said: “I’ll miss you mate.”
He has now penned a lengthier tribute, writing: “It’s so hard to put into words how much Michael meant to me, and to all of us who knew him.
“I felt like I needed to try just so I could process it in my own head.”
“Michael was a tornado of joy. You would know he arrived in the building just by hearing the chaotic bark of his, and you could feel the room get excited about the arrival of his presence.
“He was such a force and would make everyone feel like they were the most important person to him.
“He had a way with words, that most people couldn’t understand. We always joked he needed a translator because of the pure speed in which he would talk in a thick growling Aussie accent. But his passion was always the thing you never needed translating, as you could feel it whenever he spoke.”
He added: “To me, and many others, he is the heart of Australian music, and always will be.
“We were, first and foremost, friends. He was a father figure and mentor to me, but also we enjoyed the peaks of our touring career together in 2018, breaking the record for most tickets sold in Australia.”
Sheeran said Gudinski gave him a life-sized bronze statue of himself as an end of tour gift, at the singer’s request and added: “Me and him have had a drink together with the statue many times and laughed about how ridiculous it is.
“The night he passed, I was very grateful to be able to share his favourite wine with him and say goodbye. And will be eternally grateful that I can now do this every night from now on.
“Nothing will fill the void he left in our lives, but the memories we all have of him will live on. He’s everyone’s favourite story, and I will make sure I keep sharing all of my amazing stories I have of him. I’ve loved hearing everyone else’s this week. In between the tears there has been laughter and joy, remembering this Titan of a man.”
He signed off the message “Number one son x.”
Gudinski founded Mushroom when he was 20 in 1972 and it became Australia’s largest independent entertainment group.
He played a key role in luring some of the world’s biggest stars to perform Down Under, including Bruce Springsteen, who said: “My friend Michael Gudinski was first, last and always a music man.
“I’ve toured the world for the last fifty years and never met a better promoter.”
Other stars who have paid tribute include Kylie Minogue, Foo Fighters, Russell Crowe and Dannii Minogue.