Tributes are flowing for beloved Australian entertainer Judith Durham, who died “peacefully” at the age of 79 after a long health battle.
The former lead singer of The Seekers, who gained international fame for her immense talent, died in Melbourne on Friday evening in palliative care.
She was admitted to the Alfred Hospital and had long since died as a result of complications from chronic lung disease.
The singer, songwriter and musician formed The Seekers in 1962 with Athol Guy, Bruce Woodley and Keith Potter.
With hits such as Georgie 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 set the record for the largest concert crowd in the Southern Hemisphere, with approximately 200,000 people attending a show in March 1967.
He was named Joint Australian of the Year in 1967.
Durham eventually left the group and pursued a successful solo career, although she continued to reconnect with The Seekers over the years.
In 2014 Seekers members were honored as Officers of the Order of Australia.
Durham’s bandmates took to social media to share a tribute to his “fantastic musical legacy.”
“Our lives have been changed forever, having lost our precious lifelong friend and shining star,” he said.
“His struggle was intense and heroic – never complaining about his fate and fully accepting its conclusion.
His sister Beverly Sheehan also spoke about the closeness they shared.
“Judith’s joy for life, her relentless optimism, creativity and generosity of spirit were always an inspiration to me,” she said.
Durham’s family has asked for privacy at this time.
Federal Minister for the Arts Tony Burke said Durham was “once, the most famous Australian voice”.
“With The Seekers and Solo, Judith earned her place as an icon of our music,” he said.
“In 1967, 10 percent of Melbourne’s population attended a gig.
“What a contribution. What a loss. I’m Aussie. Will be played forever. Tearing.”
Entertainer Anthony Calia posted: “The skies above just heard the voice of an angel.”