Australian singer Judith Durham of folk group The Seekers has died aged 79.
The songstress passed away on Friday night following a long battle with chronic lung disease, reports the Herald Sun.
She had been in palliative care at the Alfred Hospital before her death from complications with the disease.
Her Seekers bandmates Keith Potger, Bruce Woodley, and Athol Guy called her a ‘lifelong friend’ in a shared statement.
‘Our lives are changed forever losing our treasured lifelong friend and shining star,’ they said.
‘Her struggle was intense and heroic – never complaining of her destiny and fully accepting its conclusion. Her magnificent musical legacy Keith, Bruce and [Athol] are so blessed to share.’
George Ash, President, Universal Music Australia and New Zealand, also praised the late singer-songwriter in an emotional statement.
‘Great artists become part of our fabric and our extended family, and Judith Durham was no exception,’ he said.
‘She was a force of nature, constantly energised with a passion for music and life. We were all privileged to have known Judith and heard her heavenly voice. We are deeply saddened by her passing and will miss her dearly.’
The Seekers were best known for their hits I’ll Never Find Another You and Georgy Girl.
The quartet made their debut in 1963 and quickly made history as the first Australian pop act to have major crossover success in the UK and America.
They famously performed on The Ed Sullivan Show multiple times and in 1966 they performed in front of the Queen Mother Elizabeth at the London Palladium.
The Seekers have sold over 50million records throughout their career.
They were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 1996 and received the Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2014.
Outside of The Seekers, Judith pursued a solo career with albums including Climb Ev’ry Mountain and Let Me Find Love.
She married musical director, British pianist Ron Edgeworth, in 1969.
Edgeworth died in 1994 following a battle with motor neurone disease, and Judith spent many years afterwards raising awareness around the disease.
‘Ron was a tremendous optimist and thought his body would heal itself. He’d always believed that he would live to 120 and that I, with my lung condition, would fall off the perch about 60,’ she told the Sydney Morning Herald in 2010.
Judith reflected on her legendary career in one of her final interviews with the Today show in 2019.
‘Only in hindsight can I see that I was a trailblazer,’ she said.
‘I’m only finding out now that I was the first to do certain things. I never set out to do that,’ she continued.
‘We really need music in our lives, it’s the most important thing for all of us to have songs that we can all sing. People can join in, in a community spirit.’