Judith Durham, Australian folk music star and lead singer of The Seekers, has died, according to a statement from her record company. She was 79 years old.
“After a brief stay at Alfred Hospital, Judith was admitted to palliative care on Friday August 5, where she passed away peacefully that evening. His death was the result of complications from a long-standing chronic lung disease,” Musicoast and Universal Music Australia said in a statement shared on The Seekers’ verified Facebook page.
“Our lives are forever changed by losing our forever precious friend and our shining star. His fight was intense and heroic – never complaining about his fate and fully accepting its conclusion. His magnificent musical legacy Keith, Bruce and I are so lucky to share,” his former bandmates Keith Potger, Bruce Woodley and Athol Guy added in the post.
Durham helped open the door for Australian artists to achieve international fame. The Seekers, formed in 1962, were considered the first Australian pop band to achieve mainstream success in the UK and US.
The group’s hits included “Georgy Girl” and “A World of Our Own”.
Durham left The Seekers to pursue a solo career in 1968 and released several solo albums, but continued to reunite and tour with the band in the decades that followed.
Several prominent Australians posted tributes on Saturday.
“A national treasure and an Australian icon, Judith Durham gave voice to a new strand of our identity and helped pave the way for a new generation of Australian artists,” wrote Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. on Twitter.
“Her kindness will be missed by many, the anthems she gave to our nation will never be forgotten.”
Australian comedian and actress Magda Szubanski shared her “deepest condolences to her loved ones” on Twitter.
“Her beautiful, crystal-clear voice was the naive but self-aware siren song of my childhood,” Szubanski wrote.
Tanya Plibersek, Australia’s environment and water minister, called Durham “a pioneer and an icon of Australian music”. on Twitter. “His songs will live forever.”