Australian and New Zealand Hall of Fame recipient, Max Merritt, 79, passed away today, Thursday 24 September 2020, in a Los Angeles hospital after a long battle with his failing health.
Best known for his hit songs, Slipping Away and Western Union Man, Max’s health had been in decline since being diagnosed with Goodpasture syndrome, a rare but serious autoimmune disease that attacks the lungs and kidneys.
Long time friend and Personal Manager, Wal Bishop, said “Max had been on dialysis three days every week since he fell ill back in 2007”. “He really put up a great fight and will be sadly missed by all that knew and loved him”.
In October 2007, the entertainment industry rallied in support of Merritt with a concert that raised well over $200,000.00 for him. Bishop said, “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 that was greatly admired’.
Born in Christchurch on 30 April 1941, Merritt made Australia his home and became the undisputed “king of Soul”. During the 60s, he moved to the UK before settling down in Los Angeles in the 70s. He continued to tour Australia and New Zealand regularly until 2007.
“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”. “He even shot a video to go with the tracks, it’s a shame he won’t be around to see it”.
Max Merritt is survived by his daughter Kelli, son Josh and three grandchildren.
Press release and image courtesy of Wal Bishop Enterprises.