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Tributes are flowing after the death The Seekers lead singer Judith Durham.
The international music legend died at the age of 79 on Friday after she experienced complications from a long-standing chronic lung disease.
Durham’s beloved sister Beverley Sheehan spoke of the closeness they shared throughout life, including their love of music.
“Judith’s joy for life, her constant optimism, creativity and generosity of spirit were always an inspiration to me.”
On behalf of his brother Ben and sister Belinda, Durham’s nephew Tony Sheehan said “we have been blessed to share our lives with her.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese described Durham as “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,” Albanese said on Twitter.
“Her kindness will be missed by many, the anthems she gave to our nation will never be forgotten.”
Durham’s biographer and The Seekers management team member Graham Simpson said it was “a sad day for Judith’s family, her fellow Seekers, the staff of Musicoast, the music industry and fans worldwide”.
“All of us who have been part of Judith’s life for so long,” Simpson said.
Athol Guy released a statement on behalf of the band saying their lives had “changed forever losing our treasured lifelong friend and shining star”.
“Her struggle was intense and heroic — never complaining of her destiny and fully accepting its conclusion,” Guy said.
“Her magnificent musical legacy Keith, Bruce and I are so blessed to share.”
Universal Music Australia and New Zealand president George Ash said great artists “become part of our fabric and our extended family” and Durham “was no exception”.
“She was a force of nature, constantly energised with a passion for music and life,” Ash said.
“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.”
Cyrus Meher-Homji, a senior vice president at Universal Music Australia and New Zealand, paid tribute to Durham’s “artistry” and told of discovering her brilliance when he was a child.
“How would a five-year-old understand the message and spirit of The Carnival Is Over? Perhaps not, but that is the age at which I first encountered Judith Durham and The Seekers, and I was entranced,” Meher-Homji said.
“In 2011, we at Universal Music Australia were lucky enough to sign Judith Durham to Decca Australia, at which time Judith wrote of her happiness, knowing that ‘the Universal/Decca family now also hold on to my dream and mission to uplift and bring happiness to music fans around the world’.
“High above, the dawn awaits you, Judith. Your artistry will forever be enshrined in our souls.”