Judith Durham, an Australian folk music star and lead singer of The Seekers, has died, according to a statement from her record label. She was 79.
“After a brief stay in the Alfred Hospital, Judith was admitted to Palliative Care on Friday 5 August, where she passed away peacefully that evening. Her death was a result of complications from a long-standing chronic lung disease,” Musicoast and Universal Music Australia said in a statement shared on the verified Facebook page for The Seekers.
“Our lives are changed forever losing our treasured lifelong friend and shining star. Her struggle was intense and heroic – never complaining of her destiny and fully accepting its conclusion. Her magnificent musical legacy Keith, Bruce and I are so blessed to share,” her 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 United Kingdom and the United States.
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 after.
Several prominent Australians posted tributes Saturday.
“A national treasure and an Australian icon, Judith Durham gave voice to a new strand of our identity and helped blaze a trail for a new generation of Aussie 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, crystalline voice was the naive but knowing siren song of my childhood,” wrote Szubanski.
Tanya Plibersek, Australian Minister for the Environment and Water, called Durham “a trailblazer and an icon in Australian music” on Twitter. “Her songs will live on forever.”