Judith Durham has died at the age of 79.
The singer – who was best known as the frontwoman of 1960s Australian folk-pop group the Seekers alongside Keith Potger, Bruce Woodley and Athol Guy – passed away following a battle with lung disease on Friday (05.07.22) at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.
Manager Graham Simpson said in a statement: “This is a sad day for Judith’s family, her fellow Seekers, the staff of Muoast, the mu industry and fans worldwide, and all of us who have been part of Judith’s life for so long. Her bandmates in the Seekers said their lives had been changed forever by losing their treasured lifelong friend and shining star.”
Along with The Seekers, the ‘Georgy Girl’ singer – who had no children but was married to actor Ronald Edgeworth from 1969 until his death in 1994 and is survived by her sister Beverley Sheehan – sold 50 million records worldwide and Aussie Prime Minister Anthony Albanese described her as a “national treasure” as he led the tributes.
He tweeted: “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. Her kindness will be missed by many, the anthems she gave to our nation will never be forgotten.”
Outside of her career with The Seekers, Judith released a total of 12 solo albums, the last of which was a festive record titled ‘It’s Christmas Time’ in 2013.
Following a stroke in 2013, Judith was left unable to read and write but her ability to sing was said to be unaffected and she went on a farewell tour with The Seekers the following year.
Her death comes just months after Keith teased that the band was making plans to celebrate their 60th anniversary in the “nicest possible” way.
Back in 2021, he said: “Yes, next year it will be 60 years. We are trying to work out how to commemorate that in the nicest possible way. At least it gives us a bit of time to start planning. We feel we are the only group that is still together and with the original members, still talking to each other and hopefully still having fun from that era.”