Aria Hall Of Fame dress rehearsals at Melbourne Town Hall. Kasey Chambers and Max Merritt will perform at the Aria's Hall of Fame.
Aria Hall Of Fame dress rehearsals at Melbourne Town Hall. Kasey Chambers and Max Merritt will perform at the Aria's Hall of Fame.

Freak disease kills Aussie music legend

ARIA Hall of Fame artist Max Merritt has died aged 79 in a Los Angeles hospital after being diagnosed with Goodpasture Syndrome, a rare serious auto-immune disease that attacks the lungs and kidneys.

Merritt is best known for his 1975 hit Slippin' Away, with his band Max Merritt and The Meteors, which reached number two while his other well known hit was Western Union Man.

ARIA Hall of Fame inductee Max Merritt has died at the age of 79 following a battle with a rare disease.
ARIA Hall of Fame inductee Max Merritt has died at the age of 79 following a battle with a rare disease.

 

He was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2008 alongside Dragon, Russell Morris and The Triffids.

His death comes less than two weeks after Skyhooks founding member Peter Starkie died in Melbourne after falling off a ladder in Melbourne.

Starkie was 73 and his brother and former Skyhooks member Bob Starkie wrote a touching tribute about his death which he said was a result of one of those "stupid ladder accidents."

Max Merritt and The Meteors, was one of Max Merritt’s (far right) band. One of the popular members was drummer Stewie Speers (front middle) who died in 1986.
Max Merritt and The Meteors, was one of Max Merritt’s (far right) band. One of the popular members was drummer Stewie Speers (front middle) who died in 1986.

Merritt's long time friend and Personal Manager, Wal Bishop, said Merritt had been on a dialysis machine three days a week since he fell ill in 2007.

"He really put up a great fight and will be sadly missed by all that knew and loved him," Bishop said in a statement released on Friday.

Born in Christchurch on April 30, 1941, Merritt made Australia his home.

During the 60s, he moved to the UK before settling in LA in the seventies and continued to tour Australia and New Zealand regularly until 2007.

Max Merritt at the Aria Hall Of Fame dress rehearsals at Melbourne Town Hall.
Max Merritt at the Aria Hall Of Fame dress rehearsals at Melbourne Town Hall.

In October 2007, the entertainment industry rallied in support of Merritt with a concert that raised more than $200,000.

"Over 20 household name artists, including Daryl Braithwaite, John Paul Young, James Reyne and Ross Wilson, came together with over 50 musicians and 70 production crew to support the man who was greatly admired,' Bishop said.

"Max had been unable to perform live over the past 13 years but, when he felt up to it, would go into the studio to record

Merritt is survived by his daughter Kelli, son Josh and three grandchildren.

Originally published as Freak disease kills Aussie music legend


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