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.
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."
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.
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