Tributes are flowing for legendary Australian singer Judith Durham following her death from chronic lung disease.
After finding international fame as the lead singer of The Seekers, Durham spent much of her career as a solo performer, and in 2015 was named Victorian of the Year for her services to music.
Durham passed away in Melbourne on Friday at the age of 79. She had been in palliative care at the Alfred Hospital leading up to her passing.
“This is a sad day for Judith’s family, her fellow Seekers, the staff of Musicoast, the music industry and fans worldwide, and all of us who have been part of Judith’s life for so long,” her long time manager Graham Simpson said.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese declared her “a national treasure and an Australian icon.”
“Judith Durham gave voice to a new strand of our identity and helped blaze a trail for a new generation of Aussie artists,” he said on Twitter.
“Her kindness will be missed by many, the anthems she gave to our nation will never be forgotten.”
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Former Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns also paid tribute to the woman with the privilege of being Silverchair’s only guest vocalist.
“During my entire career in Silverchair, we only ever had one guest vocalist and it was Judith on English Garden, I hope that adequately demonstrates my love, respect and admiration for her,” he shared.
“Before AC/DC, before INXS, before Silverchair, before Tame Impala there was The Seekers and this diminutive woman kicked the door down for all of us.”
Singer Anthony Callea shared the sentiments of many, writing, “The skies above just gained a voice of an angel.”
The skies above just gained a voice of an angel 👼 RIP #JudithDurham
“Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more” pic.twitter.com/UncX91mtae
— ANTHONY CALLEA (@AnthonyCallea) August 6, 2022
Host of the long-running TV show RocKwiz, Julia Zemiro, shared the moment when The Seekers singer was the surprise guest of the show’s first live event at the Myer Music Bowl in 2009.
“The final moment of the show… when everyone thought it was over… The Lights dimmed, a spotlight came up to welcome the most magnificent Judith Durham,” Zemiro wrote.
“Her voice drifted across the park, her dress billowed in the light and we were all in tears as she told us … The Carnival is Over. I will never forget it. Vale most brilliant one. Most original one.”
@RocKwiz 3 years into our TV shows, we did our first live show at the Myer music bowl. It was the first time I’d ever hosted such a thing and we had the most extraordinary musical guests and punters. AllBeautifully curated by the Rockwiz band / team.
— Julia Zemiro (@julia_zemiro) August 6, 2022
Durham had suffered ill health for many years. The Seekers’ Golden Jubilee Australian Tour was postponed in 2013 after she had a small cerebral haemorrhage and was hospitalised following the first show at Melbourne’s Hamer Hall.