Tributes are flowing to beloved Australian artist Judith Durham, who passed away “peacefully” at the age of 79 after a long health battle.
The former lead singer of The Seekers, who has gained international fame for her immense talent, died in Melbourne on Friday evening in palliative care.
She was admitted to Alfred Hospital and died of complications from a long-term chronic lung disease.
The singer, songwriter, and musician formed The Seekers with Athol Guy, Bruce Woodley, and Keith Potger in 1962.
With successes such as Georgy Girl and The Carnival Is Over, they became the first Australian pop group to achieve major chart success in the UK and US, paving the way for other stars such as Olivia Newton-John.
The Seekers holds the record for largest music crowd in the Southern Hemisphere, with nearly 200,000 people attending a performance in March 1967.
They were named Australians of the Year in 1967.
Durham eventually left the group and had a successful solo career, though she went on to reunite with The Seekers over the years.
Each Seekers member was honored as Officers of the Order of Australia in 2014.
Durham’s bandmates have taken to social media to share a tribute to her “wonderful musical legacy”.
“Our lives are forever changing and the loss of our dear friend and shining star,” they said.
“Her struggle was fierce and heroic – she never complained about her fate and fully accepted its end.
Her sister Beverly Sheehan also spoke about their closeness.
“Judith’s joy in life, her constant optimism, her creativity and her spiritual generosity have always inspired me,” she said.
The Durham family requested privacy at this time.
Federal Minister for the Arts Tony Burke said Durham was “once upon a time, the best known Australian voice”.
“With The Seekers and Solo, Judith has earned her place as an icon for our music,” he said.
In 1967, 10 percent of Melbourne residents attended a single concert.
“What a contribution. And what a loss. I am Australian and will play forever. rest in peace.”
Artist Anthony Callia wrote: “The sky above has acquired the voice of an angel.”