UPDATED 12:20pm Australian music icon Molly Meldrum, best known as the host of Countdown and for his regular music spots on Hey Hey It’s Saturday, is reportedly in a critical condition and fighting for his life after a fall from a ladder at his home in Richmond.
According to News Limited, the 65-year-old music identity was treated at his home after his gardener found him around 6.40pm this afternoon. An ambulance was quickly called and Meldrum was rushed to hospital where he is currently in a induced coma.
“He fell from a ladder, at some height, he was unconscious when we arrived,” a spokeswoman from Ambulance Victoria told reporters. “He has been placed in an induced coma and taken to The Alfred hospital in a critical condition.”
Meldrum first popped onto the Australian music scene in the mid-1960s when writing for a weekly teen newspaper, and amongst his acting credits has also produced top ten hits for a number of artists including Russell Morris, Ronnie Burns, Colleen Hewett, Supernaut, and The Ferrets.
In recent years he’s been working on television for Channel 7 interviewing musicians for Sunrise, Weekend Sunrise and Sunday Night. He’s also been enjoying a resurge in popularity amongst youth who are looking for a bit of nostalgia, DJing at club nights and events around the country including a headline slot at the Hot Barbeque in Portsea at the beginning of this year.
Fellow entertainment identity and friend Eddie McGuire was shocked by the news and is hoping for a speedy recovery. “Molly’s one of my oldest and dearest friends – for more than 25 years,” he said. “All our hopes and prayers are with him. We love the bloke. He’s such a huge part of Melbourne, the showbusiness scene and sports scene. We are desperately hoping he pulls through.’’
We’ll keep you updated with news of his condition as it comes in.
UPDATE 10:40pm: There are unconfirmed reports Meldrum is currently undergoing surgery for broken ribs and should make a full recovery.
UPDATE 11:50pm: Earlier reports of a full recovery appear to be false. Mark Klemens, Meldrum’s manager, has provided a statement on behalf of his family at the hospital saying “Unfortunately late this afternoon Molly had a fall at home. As a consequence of that fall he suffered significant injuries. The next 24 hours will be crucial to see where things lie. I’m a half full person, I’m always preparing for a better outcome.”
UPDATE 12:30pm: According to radio station 3AW, Meldrum’s manager Mark Klemens has confirmed that the music identity suffered swelling of the brain, broken ribs and possible punctured lung in the fall. Klemens also revealed that Meldrum didn’t fall off a ladder but down a flight of stairs leading to his rooftop spa as he was attempting to put up Christmas decorations in preparation for a party.
UPDATE 8.45am: Meldrum’s manager Mark Klemens has filled us in on the events overnight. “He has extensive injuries,” he said. “Fractured skull, and head injuries, shoulder blade injuries and also broken ribs and a punctured lung as well, so there’s quite a bit of injury on the left side, He’s not conscious at the moment but, as I say, he got through the night so that’s a positive. As with these sorts of injuries time is important and certainly the next 24 hours are important so I don’t think there’s going to be any significant change throughout the day.”
UPDATE 12:20pm: Professor Jeffrey Rosenfeld, director of neurosurgery at The Alfred Hospital, said Meldrum was in a critical condition in intensive care and his condition had stabilised overnight. “We’re really concerned for his life – I mean, this is a life and death matter,” he said to News Limited. “He was perfectly well yesterday and here he is fighting for his life. I think at the moment it’s unlikely we’ll need more surgery but we’ll need to wait and see what that scan shows, I’m encouraged that he’s been stable overnight but he’s still very serious.”
“We’re fighting that battle with him and for him and we’re going to hopefully win that battle. We’ve got him sedated and he’s having all the treatment that we give to severe brain injury patients. The next 24 hours is critical. We’re encouraged by the way he’s going so far but he’s still critical.”
His manager Mark Klemens also added “He’s an absolute trooper and whenever he’s been down before he gets straight up so I would be hopeful and confident that he’ll be back, looking down the lens saying `Do yourself a favour’, It’s horrendous and it’s happened so quickly. It’s been a horrendous time and Molly’s obviously a client of mine … plus he’s also a great friend. I’ve known him for probably 20 years as my wife has as well.”
He continued “He’s a person that endears himself to people and he’s iconic. He’s a very special man. I can tell you that he would be absolutely overwhelmed by the response and the interest, and what has been quite extraordinary, and when he finally looks back on all of this I have absolutely no doubt he will be humbled, and so thrilled at the support.”
Literally thousands of people have flocked to news websites, Facebook, and Twitter to wish Meldrum well, including a number of high profile celebrities whose careers Molly has helped at some point. Even Prime Minister Julia Gillard decided to wish the music man well tweeting:
Australia’s thoughts are with you, Molly. Keep fighting. #LoveYouMolly JG
— Julia Gillard (@JuliaGillard) December 15, 2011
Joining the literally thousands of well-wishers we thought we’d celebrate his achievements so far and hope for many more in the future by taking a look back at some of the iconic, classic, and happier moments in Molly Meldrum’s career. We trust you will join us in wishing Molly a speedy recovery.