National News

Mental As Anything's 'Greedy' Smith dies

Not only responsible for some of Australia's most loved songs, Mental As Anything founder Andrew "Greedy" Smith has been remembered as a funny, cheerful and caring character.

Smith died after suffering a heart attack in his car while driving in Sydney on Monday. He was aged 63.

An original member of Mental As Anything alongside Smith when the band formed in 1977, Reg Mombassa said his former frontman was multi-talented and much-loved.

"Apart from being a fantastic entertainer and a gifted songwriter, I think Greedy was the most cheerful and positive person I've ever met. I mean, he was, incredibly, always cheerful," Mombassa told the Nine Network.

"He'll be sorely missed by all the people that knew him. So vale, Greedy."

As well as being the band's vocalist and keyboard player, Smith, along with Martin Plaza, wrote most of the band's many memorable hits from the 1980s, including Too Many Times, Live It Up and The Nips Are Getting Bigger.

Even 30 years after their biggest hits, Smith was still touring with the Mentals and last performed in the southern NSW town of Tathra on Saturday night.

They were scheduled to perform in Melbourne on Thursday as part of a national tour due to culminate back in NSW on New Year's Eve.

Grant Bartlett, who has managed the pop-rock band for 16 years, said Smith's fatal heart problem came as a surprise.

"One of the healthiest guys I've seen," Mr Bartlett told AAP on Tuesday.

Smith's publicist Dianna O'Neill was also shocked by the musician's death, having known him for more than 30 years.

Smith had served as godfather to one of her children.

"He's one of our dearest and closest friends," Ms O'Neill told AAP.

"I spoke to him two days ago ... I've never known him to be sick.

"What you see is what you get. Funny, jolly, he was sincere, caring ... just a really incredibly decent person who didn't have a bad word to say about anyone."

Mental As Anything was formed in Sydney by Smith, along with Mombassa, Plaza, Wayne "Bird" de Lisle and Peter O'Doherty. The band was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2009.

Smith was the only original member of the touring group.

He also produced a solo album, Love Harmonica, in 1996.

He is survived by his fiancee Fiona Docker and son Harvey.

© AAP 2019