West News Wire: Judith Durham, an Australian folk music legend who rose to popularity around the world as The Seekers’ lead singer, has passed away. She was 79.

Durham passed away on Friday night in Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital from complications related to a chronic lung condition, according to a statement released on Saturday by Universal Music Australia and Musicoast.

At the age of 19, she made her debut recording. She gained recognition after joining The Seekers in 1963. The quartet eventually sold 50 million records, making them the first Australian band to have significant chart and sales success in the UK and the US.

“The Carnival is Over,” “I’ll Never Find Another You,” “A World of Our Own,” and “Georgy Girl” were all international smashes.

Durham embarked on a solo career in 1968 but recorded with The Seekers again in the 1990s.

“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,” said The Seekers’ management team member Graham Simpson.

Her bandmates in The Seekers Keith Potger, Bruce Woodley and Athol Guy said their lives had been changed forever by losing “our treasured lifelong friend and shining star”.

“Her struggle was intense and heroic, never complaining of her destiny and fully accepting its conclusion. Her magnificent musical legacy Keith, Bruce and I are so blessed to share,” they said.

Tributes flowed for the beloved singer, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese describing Durham as “a national treasure and an Australian icon.”

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“Judith Durham gave voice to a new strand of our identity and helped blaze a trail for a new generation of Aussie artists,” Albanese wrote on Twitter. “Her kindness will be missed by many, the anthems she gave to our nation will never be forgotten.”

In her home state Victoria, Premier Dan Andrews said Durham had conquered the music world both in Australia and overseas.

“With her unique voice and stage presence leading The Seekers, the band became one of Australia’s biggest chart toppers,” he said.


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