19th Apr 2012 12:19pm | By Editor
Greg Ham, the man responsible for the flute rift in Men At Work's smash hit Down Under, has been found dead at his home.
The 58-year-old's body was discovered in his Melbourne property this morning. The cause of death is yet to be determined.
Musicians and commentators say the former band member was often the life and soul of the band, stomping around on stage as they reached the top of the charts in Australia and overseas.
Peter Karpin, who was involved in signing the band in the early 1980s, said Ham, who was found dead in his Melbourne home on Thursday, always attracted attention while on tour.
"He used to ham it up on stage a bit with his sax and the way he'd wander around and blow that on stage," he told Fairfax Radio.
Music historian and commentator Glenn A Baker said Ham's humour and quirky side was a perfect match with the arrival of MTV.
The band was able to utilise that quirkiness in its 80s music videos and through on-stage antics.
"If the band has a slightly zany reputation, then it had a lot do with him," Mr Baker told AAP.
"He was integral to the sound of Men at Work. He had a sort of elf or impish quality to him, bobbing around the stage with the flute."
Men at Work, founded by Colin Hay in 1978, was best known for its anthem Down Under.
The song became a No.1 hit, but Ham's Down Under flute riff attracted legal action in 2010 when a court found the riff plagiarised a children's song and ordered payment of royalties.
Despite the controversy, Rick Grossman, who toured the US and Japan playing bass with Men At Work in the late 90s, said Ham would be remembered as a multi-faceted musician.
"He was the guy who used to hop around all the time on stage - we used to hate that!" he said.
"I saw Colin a couple of months ago and he alluded to the fact that Greg had some health problems, but I didn't know to what extent," he told AAP.
"I think Colin will take this very hard."
Hay is currently on tour in the US and couldn't be reached for comment.