Geoff had announced at the end of last year that he would suspend his Wall-To-Wall show on World Wide Bluegrass while undergoing high-dose radiation therapy to treat an aggressive tumor discovered in his head and neck in December 2012.
Sadly, the cancer got the better of the situation and Geoff passed earlier today in a Melbourne hospital. He was 70 years old.
David C. Blood, mandolinist with Mixt Company and a close friend, tells us that Geoff fell hard for the music when he first discovered it as a young man.
“He actually trained in youth as a concert pianist, and if he had stayed with that, I have no doubt he would have been very, very good. But then he heard a bluegrass band at a folk festival in Australia (possibly Hamilton County Bluegrass Band). When he discovered Doc Watson, this being in 1962, that was it. He was hooked from there.”
Despite his blindness, Morris traveled repeatedly to the US for IBMA and other bluegrass events, where he would always capture interviews with artists along with impromptu performances to carry home for his show. Friends fondly recalled seeing him ambling through the halls with his trusty sidekick, Milo, his seeing-eye dog.
Wall-To-Wall ran twice a week since 2006, and Geoff was preparing to broadcast his 500th show on WWB when it was suspended. He also hosted a bluegrass program on Phoenix FM in Bendigo, which was his home.
“We became instant friends and he came to see our band a number of times at The Station Inn when he was visiting Nashville. Geoff was the kind of person that when you saw him, you instantly felt better about yourself. He just made you feel special. He was always smiling, always cheerful and always promoting bluegrass. He was a kind soul, a true gentleman and one of the nicest people I ever met. I’ll sure miss him.”
R.I.P Geoff Morris, on the behalf of a grateful bluegrass public.