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A short message on Facebook this week announcing that respected Australian music legend Chris Wilson had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer began a huge outpouring of love and emotion for the great man.
“Management sadly advises that Chris has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. With respect to the family’s privacy at this time, please feel free to send messages of support via this Facebook page. Messages will be forwarded to Chris,” it read.

A benefit concert for Chris was quickly organised at the Corner Hotel on August 24, which sold out within days. It will feature: Steve Lucas, Kerri Simpson, Jerome Smith, Barb Waters, Barry Palmer, Tim Rogers, Matt Dwyer, Shane O’Mara, Dave Hogan, Jo Jo Smith, Harem Scarem, Chris Russell’s Chicken Walk, DJ Max Crawdaddy and more. Sadly Chris is unable to perform.

For those who couldn’t make it to the benefit or wanted to help some more, a GoFundMe campaign was launched, initially with the target of $10,000. Response was so overwhelming that higher targets were set and at time of writing, almost $85,000 has been raised to assist the family during this difficult time. Chris’ wife Sarah Carroll will be stopping work to care for him.

As leader of Crown of Thorns, Harem Scarem, a member of X, contributor to recordings and performances for the likes of Paul Kelly and The Saints’ Chris Bailey, Chris Wilson’s powerful voice and harmonica playing always tapped at the heart strings. As a solo performer, the ARIA nominated artist could hold an audience in the palm of his hand. Chris’s Live At The Continental album, recorded at Prahran’s Continental Hotel is widely acclaimed as an Australian classic. His more recent performances in the improvisational rock outfit Skronkadoodledoo, featuring Shannon Bourne on guitar and Chris’s son Fenn on drums were stuff of legend. Chris Wilson is the heart and soul of the Melbourne music scene and a bonafide Australian music legend.

Tonight at 9pm on Facebook, there will be a special viewing of “Chris Wilson’s Live at the Continenatl -23 years On”, a documentary made by film maker Chris Franklin. Here’s the link. After viewing the doco, you’re encouarged to visit the GoFundme page and donate if you can

Chris Wilson graced the front cover of Australian Musician back in 1998. The interview inside was conducted by Rob Walker. Chris told me once that he was proud of being on the cover of our magazine, however his favourite issue was always the one guest-edited by The Drones. Chris ended his Australian Musician interview with Rob back then with the following words about the benefits of playing music and of never giving up. “It’s a great source of adventure. If your life is hard, it certainly helps you. For those people who are playing and finding it difficult, don’t quit. There are some really talented people who gave up. When you are getting somewhere towards where you want to go, the endurance is the important part,” said one Australia’s most enduring artists. We wish Chris and family all the love in the world in the biggest fight of their life.


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