The 58-year-old’s body was discovered yesterday (April 19) at his home in Melbourne. Police have established a crime scene at the house, but are refusing to explain why his death is being treated as suspicious.
A multi-instrumentalist, Ham was renowned for the flute riff on Men At Work’s huge hit, 1982’s Down Under, even though a court ruling two years ago upheld claims that this had been partially taken from a 1935 children’s rhyme called Kookaburra.
Commenting on the death of his one-time bandmate, vocalist/guitarist Colin Hay issued the following statement:
“I met Greg Ham 40 years ago, at [comedian/actor] Kim Gyngell’s house in 1972. Last year of high school.
“He had blond hair, rosy cheeks, ridiculously bright eyes, and along with Gyngell, was the funniest person I knew. He was sharp, real sharp. We were friends from then on, we liked each other.
“He lived for a while in Park Street in St Kilda, in a communal household, which was the best of times. The best parties ever.
“Greg took up the saxophone and flute during this time, he was always practicing. He got really good. We shared countless, unbelievably memorable times together, from stumbling through Richmond after playing the Cricketers Arms, to helicoptering into New York City, to appearing on Saturday Night Live, or flying through dust storms in Arizona, above the Grand Canyon, or getting lost, driving aimlessly through the Gippsland countryside.
“We played in a band and conquered the world together.
“I love him very much. He’s a beautiful man. He never lost his love and passion for music, and indeed taught music to kids over the last few years. He was a great teacher, and they loved him.
“The saxophone solo on Who Can It Be Now was the rehearsal take. We kept it, that was the one. He’s here forever.
“I’m thinking about his family, and hoping they are receiving the love and support they need and deserve.”