Australian music icon Max Merritt has passed away at the age of 79, his manager Wal Bishop confirmed. The singer, who was the frontman of 1970s band Max Merritt & The Meteors, passed away in hospital on Thursday in Los Angeles.
According to The Australian, he had been battling Goodpasture syndrome which is a rare autoimmune disease in which antibodies attack the basement membrane in lungs and kidneys, leading to bleeding from the lungs and kidney failure.
“Max had been on dialysis three days every week since he fell ill back in 2007,” Bishop said in a statement. “He really put up a great fight and will be sadly missed by all that knew and loved him.”
Merritt is best known for his hit records ‘Slippin’ Away’, which peaked at number two on the Australian charts, and ‘Western Union Man’, which reached number 13. He was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2008.
Born in New Zealand in 1941, Merritt began his career in his home country in the mid 1950s before relocating to Sydney in December 1964. He is survived by his daughter Kelli, son Josh and three grandchildren.
Tributes poured in on social media following the news, with one fan writing: “Can 2020 get any worse . Just heard Max Merritt has died. Slippin Away came out in the mid 1970s. 45 years later it’s a classic. The greatest song in the history of Australian music.”
Another commented: “RIP Max Merritt….a powerhouse in music. Thanks for the memories.” While another wrote: “Sad to learn of the passing of Max Merritt, one of the greats of our music.”
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