After an ongoing battle with illness, Australian music icon and member of the legendary Yothu Yindi, Dr G Yunupingu, has died at the age of 46.
A statement released by his publicist remembered Yunupingu as a “great Australian”, The Guardian reports, noting his enormous success as a multi-award-winning talent and “the voice of a generation”.
“Dr G Yunupingu is remembered today as one of the most important figures in Australian music history, blind from birth and emerging from the remote Galiwin’ku community on Elcho Island off the coast of Arnhem Land to sell over half a million copies of his albums across the world, singing in his native Yolngu language,” the statement reads.
“His debut album cemented him as the Australian voice of a generation, hitting triple platinum in Australia, silver in the UK and charting in multiple other countries across the globe.
“The highest selling Indigenous artist in history, Dr G Yunupingu released two subsequent top five studio albums Rrakala and The Gospel Album, achieved a swag of ARIA Awards, performed across the globe for audiences including Queen Elizabeth II and Barack Obama and released the first Indigenous language single to reach the top five, all the while continuing to call Elcho Island home.”
Known for his gripping, soulful tenor and multi-instumental talent, Dr. Yunupingu released three studio albums of his own (each of which reached #3 on the ARIA charts), with his debut going triple-platinum and earning him his first of three ARIA awards.
He also released two live records, along with his work with The Saltwater Band and as a member of the influential Yothu Yindi, and he was recently named the 2016 NAIDOC Artist of the Year.
Tributes are flooding in from all corners of the music world, recognising Dr. Yunupingu’s contribution to Australian music, and Indigenous recognition across the globe.
“I’m really going to miss my friend, Dr. G Yunupingu,” said A.B. Original’s Briggs. “I’ll find the right words soon. Love to his family n Mark & Michael.”
Meanwhile, prominent Australians have spoken out about Dr. Yunupingu’s impact on the country, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull describing him as a “remarkable Australian”, while Labor leader Bill Shorten adding that he “helped Australians see the wonder of the world’s oldest living culture”.
Dr. Yunupingu passed away overnight at the Royal Darwin Hospital, and is survived by his daughter Jasmine.
For cultural reasons, the artist’s full name and image has not been published