Tributes are pouring in for beloved Australian artist Judith Durham, who died “peacefully” at the age of 79 following a long health battle.
The former singer of The Seekers, who gained international acclaim for her immense talent, died in Melbourne on Friday night in hospice care.
She had been admitted to Alfred Hospital and died of complications from a long-standing chronic lung disease.
The singer, songwriter and musician formed The Seekers with Athol Guy, Bruce Woodley and Keith Potger in 1962.
With hits like Georgy Girl and The Carnival Is Over, they became the first Australian pop act to achieve major chart success in the UK and US, paving the way for other stars like Olivia Newton- John.
The Seekers hold the record for the largest concert crowd in the Southern Hemisphere, with around 200,000 people attending a show in March 1967.
They were named Australians of the Year in 1967.
Durham eventually left the group and had a successful solo career, although she continued to reunite with The Seekers over the years.
The Seekers members were each honored as Officers of the Order of Australia in 2014.
Durham’s bandmates took to social media to share a tribute to his ‘magnificent musical legacy’.
“Our lives are forever changed by losing our forever precious friend and our shining star,” they said.
“His fight was intense and heroic – never complaining about his fate and fully accepting its conclusion.
His sister Beverley Sheehan also spoke of the closeness they shared.
“Judith’s zest for life, her constant optimism, her creativity and her generosity of spirit have always been a source of inspiration for me,” she says.
Durham’s family has requested confidentiality at this time.
Federal Arts Minister Tony Burke said Durham was “once the best-known Australian voice”.
“With The Seekers and solo, Judith has earned her place as an icon of our music,” he said.
“In 1967, 10% of Melbourne’s population attended a single concert.
“What a contribution. What a loss. I am Australian will be played forever. TO TEAR APART.”
Artist Anthony Callea posted: “Heaven above just gained an angel voice.”
Originally published as ‘Shining star’: Tributes to Judith Durham after her death aged 79