Michael Gudinski.

Michael Gudinski, founder and chairman of the Mushroom Group, died overnight at home in Melbourne. He was 68.

One of the key figures in the Australian music industry, Gudinski started Mushroom Records in 1972 at just 20 years old.

Over the decades, the label worked with some the biggest names in Australian music, such as Jimmy Barnes, Kylie Minogue, Archie Roach, Hunters & Collectors, Paul Kelly, The Angels and Yothu Yindi.

The Mushroom Group also grew to become an entertainment empire, with brands across touring, record labels, publishing, merchandising, booking agencies, film and television production and creative services.

Mushroom Pictures, its production and distribution arm, was formed in 1993.

Gudinski was the executive producer on feature films such as Chopper, Horseplay, Gettin’ Square, Wolf Creek, Macbeth, Storm Warning, Cedar Boys, Mad Bastards, Killing Ground and Boys in the Trees, as well as Seven miniseries Molly.

His most recent project was Stan’s eight-part series The Gloaming, created by Vicki Madden.

On Twitter, Boys In The Trees director Nicholas Verso said he was devastated to hear of Gudinski’s passing.

“He was the man who gave me my shot – he put his reputation and money on the line to let me make Boys In The Trees the way I dreamed. I imagine there are hundreds of other artists who could say the same thing for him,” he wrote.

“Australia will always be in his debt for what he built for our music and film industries.”

A statement from the Mushroom Group 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.  

“Michael’s family loved him immensely and Michael in turn adored his wife Sue, son Matt and partner Cara, daughter Kate and husband Andrew and their children Nina-Rose and Lulu.  They meant everything to him, and he was immensely proud of them.  Michael often referred to his 200+ staff as the Mushroom Family, with many having clocked decades in his employment.

“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.”

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