Australian folk music icon Judith Durham has died aged 79

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Judith Durham, the icon of Australian folk music who achieved worldwide fame as the lead singer of The Seekers, has died. She was 79.

Durham died at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne on Friday night after suffering complications from a long-standing lung condition, Universal Music Australia and Musicoast said in a statement on Saturday.

She made her first record at 19 and rose to fame after joining The Seekers in 1963. The four-piece became the first Australian group to achieve major chart and sales success in the United Kingdom and the United States, eventually selling 50 million records.

International hits include ‘The Carnival is Over’, ‘I’ll Never Find Another You’, ‘A World of Our Own’ and ‘Georgy Girl’.

Durham began a solo career in 1968, but recorded again with The Seekers in the 1990s.

“This is a sad day for Judith’s family, her fellow Seekers, the Musicoast staff, the music industry and fans around the world and all of us who have been a part of Judith’s life for so long,” said The Seekers management team member Graham Simpson.

Her bandmates in The Seekers – Keith Pottger, Bruce Woodley and Athol Guy – said their lives had been changed forever by the loss of “our treasured lifelong friend and shining star”.

“Her struggle was intense and heroic, never lamenting her fate and fully accepting her end. Her magnificent musical legacy Keith, Bruce and I are so blessed to share,” they said.

Tributes poured in for the beloved singer, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese describing Durham as “a national treasure and an Australian icon”.

“Judith Durham gave voice to a new part of our identity and helped blaze a trail for a new generation of Australian artists,” Albanese wrote on Twitter. “Her kindness will be missed by many, the anthems she gave our nation will never be forgotten.

In his home state of Victoria, Premier Dan Andrews said Durham had taken the music world by storm both in Australia and overseas.

“With her unique voice and stage presence fronting The Seekers, the band has become one of Australia’s biggest chart acts,” he said.

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