By Triana O'Keefe, editor Australian Hotelier
The Shout is saddened to learn of the passing of Sydney identity John Hemmes who lost his battle with cancer on Sunday night.
The following statement was released by the family this morning:
“The Hemmes family announce with great sadness that John Hemmes passed away last night, following a long battle with multiple myeloma. He died peacefully at his Sydney home, The Hermitage, surrounded by his family. The family have asked that their privacy be respected at this very difficult time”.
John and his wife Merivale started their company Merivale as a fashion house before moving in to property. Alongside their son Justin, the company was later steered towards the hospitality and service industry. The Merivale portfolio now contains more than 50 restaurants, bars, pubs and hotels in Sydney.
Justin has previously described his father as his best friend, mentor and number one backer, and upon accepting his induction into the AHA's Hall of Fame paid special tribute.
"Without [John] I certainly wouldn't be where I am and we wouldn't have the business we have today," he said.
Speaking to The Shout, AHA NSW President Scott Leach said: "This is a terribly sad day for the industry. We have lost a true icon."
Industry stalwart and Harold Park Hotel owner William Ryan also paid tribute to Mr Hemmes.
"We have lost a true pioneer in the passing of John," he said.
"[He was] A gentleman and admired hotelier."
We would like to express our condolences to the Hemmes family.
The Hemmes family would like to invite all who wish to pay their respects to John to join them at Ivy Ballroom, 320 George Street, Sydney between 4pm and 6pm, Friday 6 March 2015. They have requested that instead of flowers, donations are made to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital LALTHAM Fund, supporting blood disease research and patient care.