Australia’s most important voice dies

Australia’s most important voice dies

By Kristina Rosengren

Australia’s most iconic Indigenous music artist Dr G Yunupingu has passed away aged 46.

The singer and guitarist, whose full name has been withheld for cultural reasons, died in the Royal Darwin Hospital around 5pm Tuesday.

Dr Yunupingu first came to prominence when he joined and performed with celebrated Indigenous band Yothu Yindi, best known for the 1991 hit Treaty.

He shot to fame as a solo artist in 2008, after winning an ARIA Award for his name sake album.

The album peaked at number three on the ARIA charts and went triple platinum. It shot to silver in the UK charts and charted in multiple countries worldwide.

He has performed live with Stevie Wonder, Missy Higgins and Sting, as well as for prominent figures such as former US president Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth II at her Diamond Jubilee concert at Buckingham palace in 2012.

He featured as the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in 2011, which labelled him “Australia’s most important voice”.

“Dr G Yunupingu is remembered today as one of the most important figures in Australian music history. Blind from birth and emerging from the remote Galiwin’ku community on Elcho Island off the coast of Arnhem Land to sell over half a million copies of his albums across the world, singing in his native Yolngu language,” his label Skinnyfish Music said in a statement.

“His legacy as a musician and community leader will continue as his life’s work continues its positive impact on Elcho Island, the Northern Territory, Australia and the world.”

The multiple ARIA Award winner passed as a result of a long battle with the effects of hepatitis B and kidney disease, which he had suffered with since childhood.

Dr Yunupingu’s death comes only weeks before the release of a documentary about his life at the Melbourne Film Festival.

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