Ed Sheeran Delivers Emotional Tribute Performance for Late Friend, 'Father Figure and Mentor'
"It's so hard to put into words how much Michael meant to me, and to all of us who knew him," Sheeran wrote on Instagram days after Gudinski's death, "Michael was a tornado of joy"
Ed Sheeran wore his emotions on his sleeve during his tribute performance in honor of his late friend Michael Gudinski.
Gudinski was an Australian entrepreneur and music executive who played a pivotal role in his native country's music industry. He died on March 2 at the age of 68. His cause of death is unclear at this time. Many outlets reported that Gudinski died in his sleep at his Melbourne, Australia home, but Sydney radio station 2GB reported that he suffered a heart attack.
Sheeran's heartfelt performance came on Wednesday night during a live-streamed Melbourne memorial service (held at the Rod Laver Arena) in recognition of the late Gudinski, during which the star, 30, debuted his new song "Visiting Hours." More than 7,000 guests were in attendance at the stadium, according to Billboard.
Of his new tune, the Grammy-winner said, "In [COVID-19] lockdown I was able to have a guitar for quarantine and I always find [that] the best way to process stuff [for me] is to write songs, be it good news, bad news or whatever and here is a song I finished last week."
At one point, he sang, "I wish that heaven had visiting hours / So I just could show up / And bring good news / That she's getting older / And I wish that you'd met her / The things that she'll learn from me / I got them all from you."
"Well, I wish that heaven had visiting hours / So I could just swing by / And ask your advice," the hitmaker continued. "What would you do in my situation? / I haven't a clue how I'd even raise them / What would you do? / 'Cause you always knew what's right."
On March 5, just days after Gudinski's death, Sheeran penned a heartfelt post which he shared on Instagram, in which he wrote, "It's so hard to put into words how much Michael meant to me, and to all of us who knew him."
He later added, "Michael was a tornado of joy. You would know he arrived in the building just by hearing the chaotic bark of his, and you could feel the room get excited about the arrival of his presence. He was such a force, and would make everyone feel like they were the most important person to him."
The star went on to describe Gudinski as "a champion of up-and-coming artists" and wrote, "We were, first and foremost, friends. He was a father figure and mentor to me, but we also enjoyed the peaks of our touring career together in 2018."
In addition to Sheeran's appearance, Wednesday night's ceremony also included recorded tributes from several stars including: Taylor Swift, Dave Grohl, Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme, Sam Smith, Elton John and Billy Joel.
Fellow artists Kylie Minogue, Paul Kelly, Sting and Jimmy Barnes were among those to perform.