Mental As Anything founding member and songwriter Andrew “Greedy” Smith has died after suffering a heart attack in his car. He was aged 63.
Band manager Grant Bartlett on Tuesday confirmed that Smith had suffered a heart attack while driving in Sydney on Monday night. An ambulance arrived promptly to provide treatment but the singer died.
Mr Bartlett, who has managed the Australian pop-rock band for 16 years, said Smith’s fatal heart problem came as a surprise.
“One of the healthiest guys I’ve seen,” Mr Bartlett said.
The band performed in southern NSW’s Tathra on Saturday night and was scheduled to perform in Melbourne on Thursday. They were on a national tour, which was set to culminate on the Central Coast on New Year’s Eve.
The band paid tribute to Smith in a Facebook post on Tuesday morning.
“Our grief and confusion at this time are little compared to what Andrew’s family will be feeling – our hearts and prayers go out to them,” it read.
It is with an incredibly heavy heart to announce that one of the founding members of Mental As Anything, Andrew Greedy…
Smith’s publicist Dianna O’Neill said on Tuesday she was also shocked by the musician’s death. She had known him for more than 30 years.
Smith was a godfather to one of her children.
“He’s one of our dearest and closest friends,” Ms O’Neill said.
“I spoke to him two days ago … I’ve never known him to be sick.
We are extremely sad to hear about the passing of Andrew “Greedy” Smith. As a member of Mental As Anything @mentalsofficial, he was inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame in 2009. He was a huge character, with a big smile and boundless energy. That energy will be sorely missed. pic.twitter.com/T3rjEaXeAV
— ARIA (@ARIA_Official) December 3, 2019
“What you see is what you get. Funny, jolly, he was sincere, caring … just a really incredibly decent person who didn’t have a bad word to say about anyone.”
Mental As Anything was formed in Sydney in August 1977 by Smith, along with Reg Mombassa, Martin Plaza, Wayne “Bird” de Lisle and Peter O’Doherty. The band was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2009.
So sorry to learn of Greedy’s death today. Played a great fest w/ him just last Sat, was in fine form. Condolences to family & MAS. “Mental As Anything’s ‘Greedy’ Smith dies”| The New Daily https://t.co/NXZCx777Wg
— Ross Wilson (@rosswilsonmusic) December 3, 2019
Smith was a vocalist, alongside Plaza, and keyboard player. Plaza is battling cancer.
Smith was the final original member of the touring group.
In October, he told ABC Radio Perth about the process of writing Live It Up, which came to him during a long bus trip across Canada.
“The initial idea of it, all the words and what I thought the music was, I probably got in about half an hour,” he said.
“But it took two years for me to get it right.”
He was upbeat discussing his career at the time, saying he had been doing the same job for 42 years.
“[I’m] too old to be retrained for anything useful,” he said, “but I’m really good at being me”.
Smith also produced a solo album, Love Harmonica, in 1996.
He is survived by his fiancee, Fiona Docker, and son Harvey.