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Aussie Music Icon & ‘I Was Only Nineteen’ Singer Hugh McDonald Has Died

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Australia has lost one of its most iconic musicians, with Redgum’s Hugh McDonald passing away at the age of 62.

The beloved tunesmith, who wrote Redgum’s The Diamantina Drover and performed backing vocals and violin on their culturally seminal anti-Vietnam war ballad I Was Only Nineteen, died on Friday night, 17th November, after a “long, courageous and inspirational battle with cancer”.

After Redgum disbanded in 1990, McDonald opened his own studio in Melbourne and went on to collaborate with the Geelong Music College Orchestra and several other projects, including his former Redgum bandmate and lifelong friend John Schumann’s band, John on the Vagabond Crew.

In a statement via Facebook, Schumann paid tribute to his fallen mate “Bullet”, writing:

“Most people will know by now that my dear dear mate, music accomplice, wingman and backstop for more than half my life, Hugh McDonald, died last night after a long, courageous and inspirational battle with cancer. It’s all too hard right now – but my unfathomable grief will be nothing alongside that of Bullet’s family. You get a mate like Hugh once in a lifetime – if you’re lucky. I was blessed – we all were. More later when my screen doesn’t look like a fish shop window from the 1950’s.”

RIP to another legend.

Watch: Redgum – ‘I Was Only Nineteen’

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