Sia Furler is his niece. Colin was big David Letterman fan, and when 11-year-old Sia came to visit him in New York, they watched the show together. When Sia first appeared on the show, it was a very emotional moment for Colin.
His band Men At Work was one of the most popular acts in the world from 1982-1985, but they split up after just three albums. Hay launched his solo career with his 1987 album Looking For Jack, but it flopped, as did his next effort, Wayfaring Sons, in 1990. Dropped from his label, he went through a dark period where his first wife left him, as he had become an alcoholic. It took him about five years to get sober, at which point he was able to rebuild his career.
Regarding his penchant for touring, he said, "It makes me feel useful. Everybody has to find their place in this expanding universe. This is my place."
He got a big break when Zach Braff of the popular TV series Scrubs turned one of the show's writers on to Colin's music. The 2002 Season 2 debut was built around Hay's Men At Work song "Overkill," with Colin playing a troubadour who performs it throughout the episode. He made two more appearances on the show, and four episodes in total feature his songs. To some younger listeners, he is known as "the guy from Scrubs," not "the guy from Men At Work."
He had prostate cancer, a topic he would sometimes bring up on stage.