Judith Durham, singer of the Australian pop band The Seekers, has died at age 79. According to Universal Music Australia, Durham’s cause of death was chronic lung disease.
“Our lives are changed forever losing our treasured lifelong friend and shining star,” the company said in a statement. “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.”
Born July 3rd, 1943 in Essendon, Victoria, Judith Mavis Cock studied classical piano at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium. Also a classically trained vocalist, she performed blues, gospel, and jazz pieces before cutting her eponymous debut EP in 1963.
Soon after, Durham joined Athol Guy, Keith Potger, and Bruce Woodley in the folk-influenced pop group The Seekers. Known for such songs as “I’ll Never Find Another You,” “The Carnival Is Over,” and “Georgy Girl,” which soundtracked the 1966 film of the same name, The Seekers became the first Australian band to have a Top 5 hit in Australia, the United States, and the UK. In 1967, they became the only group to be jointly named Australians of the Year.
Durham left The Seekers in 1968 to pursue a solo career, but the band reunited several times throughout the years, most recently in 2014. In 1995, the band was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association Hall of Fame, and in 2011, “I’ll Never Find Another You” was added to the country’s National Film and Sound Archive. Each member of The Seekers was individually honored as Officers of the Order of Australia during the Queen’s Birthday Honors of 2014.
“Judith’s joy for life, her constant optimism, creativity and generosity of spirit were always an inspiration to me,” Durham’s sister, Beverley Sheehan, said in a statement. Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called Durham a “national treasure.”
“Her kindness will be missed by many, the anthems she gave to our nation will never be forgotten,” Albanese said.
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.— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) August 6, 2022
Her kindness will be missed by many, the anthems she gave to our nation will never be forgotten.