Judith Durham, who gained worldwide fame as the lead singer of The Seekers, died Friday at the age of 79. News reporter.
“This is a sad day for Judith’s family, her fellow Seekers, the Musicoast staff, the music industry and fans around the world, and for all of us who have been a part of Judith’s life for so long,” said Graham Simpson, a member from the band’s management team.
Many paid their respects online, including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who highlighted her kindness and legacy.
“A national treasure and Australian icon, Judith Durham gave voice to a new part of our identity and helped pave the way for a new generation of Aussie artists,” wrote Albanian on Twitter. “Her kindness will be missed by many, the hymns she gave to our nation will never be forgotten.”
Durham’s bandmates Keith Potter, Bruce Woodley and Athol Guy wrote on Facebook about her “intense and heroic” struggle.
“Our lives have been forever changed by the loss of our dear lifelong friend and shining star,” they wrote. “Her struggle was intense and heroic – she never complained about her fate and fully accepted its outcome. Her beautiful musical legacy Keith, Bruce and I are so blessed to share.”
Durham originally dreamed of becoming a pianist and earned her associate’s degree in the field from Melbourne University Conservatory, according to her website. She was an equally passionate singer and at the age of 18 she started taking singing lessons.
Durham joined The Seekers in 1963 when the band released their debut album ‘Introducing The Seekers’. They achieved international fame as the first Australian group to achieve mainstream success in the US and UK
“The Carnival is Over” and “A World of Our Own” were hit songs that contributed to the band’s meteoric rise. Durham briefly left The Seekers to become a solo artist and returned to the group in the 1990s. The band has sold 50 million records worldwide.
The Seekers’ legacy includes Durham who for her merits was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia award in 1995 and the Centenary Medal in 2003, according to the TAUT. The Melbourne native was also named Victorian of the Year in 2015 – with the state’s prime minister, Dan Andrews, recently expressing his condolences.
“With her unique voice and stage presence leading The Seekers, the band became one of Australia’s biggest chart hits,” Andrews tweeted.
“Judith Durham was named Victorian of the Year in 2015 for her contributions to music and a range of charitable work,” Andrews added. “Her memory will live on not only in her numerous hits, but also in the hearts of generations of Victorians and Australians.”