Sean Michaels 

Death of Men at Work’s Greg Ham investigated by police

'Unexplained issues' surround death in Melbourne of flute player on band's biggest hit, Down Under
  
  

Police are investigating the death of Men at Work's Greg Ham, whose body was discovered on Thursday at his home in Melbourne, Australia. Officials have reportedly established a crime scene as they examine "unexplained issues" relating to the musician's death.

While police would not explain the suspicious aspects of Ham's death, his friends said they had not heard from the 58-year-old for about a week. Finally two friends let themselves into his home on Wednesday morning, discovering the body in a front room. "At this point in time, because of the early stages of our investigation, we're not prepared to go into the exact details of what has occurred," detective sergeant Shane O'Connell told News.com.au. A postmortem examination will be held to determine Ham's cause of death.

"He [was] a beautiful man," Men at Work frontman Colin Hay told the Herald Sun. "I love him very much … We conquered the world together." A member of the band since 1979, Ham is best known for playing the flute on 1982's Down Under, which topped the charts around the world.

In recent years, Men at Work were accused of stealing Down Under's central flute riff from the well-known children's song Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree. Despite its reputation as a traditional, the song was only written in 1932. In 2010, a judge ordered the band to pay royalties to the campfire tune's music publishers; this ruling was upheld in its final appeal last October.

Ham has always denied stealing the flute melody and said last year the court ruling might mean his financial ruin. "I'll never see another cent out of that song again," he told theAge.com. "We'll face massive legal costs. At the end of the day, I'll end up selling my house."

"Music's always been about referring to what's already in our culture," he explained. "No one detected [the copyright violation] – I didn't detect it and I played the fucking thing … [This] will be the way the song is remembered and I hate that. I'm terribly disappointed that that's the way I'm going to be remembered – for copying something."

Ham leaves behind two children.