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Nation mourns music legend’s passing

Tributes poured in today following the death of Australia’s most prominent Indigenous musician, Dr G Yunupingu, at the age of 46.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tweeted that Dr Yunupingu was “a remarkable Australian sharing Yolngu language with the world through music”.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott said “a hauntingly beautiful voice is now still”.

Country music star Troy Cassar-Daley said Dr Yunupingu “was a light among us”, while Peter Garratt said a truly great musician was gone.

Rapper Senator Briggs said he was going to miss his friend, while Australian Hip Hop group The Funkoards said they were “heartbroken”.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said Dr Yunupingu had “helped Australians see the wonder of the world’s oldest living culture”.

In a statement released today, Dr Yunupingu’s record label, Skinnyfish Music, and his family said the singer had passed away at Royal Darwin Hospital after a long illness.

“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,” it said.

“His debut album cemented him as the Australian voice of a generation, hitting triple platinum in Australia, silver in the UK and charting in multiple other countries across the globe.

“The highest selling Indigenous artist in history, Dr G. Yunupingu released two subsequent top five studio albums Rrakala and The Gospel Album, achieved a swag of ARIA Awards, performed across the globe for audiences including Queen Elizabeth II and Barack Obama and released the first Indigenous language single to reach the top five, all the while continuing to call Elcho Island home.”

It said his legacy as a musician and community leader would continue to have a positive impact on Elcho Island, the Northern Territory, Australia and the world.

The family have asked for respect at this time and requested that no images of Dr Yunupingu be used.

Wendy Caccetta


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