Australian folk-music icon Judith Durham, who played the lead role in the Oscar-nominated single “Georgie Girl” with the Seekers, has died at the age of 79.

Durham died on Friday at Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital as a result of complications from long-standing chronic lung disease, according to a statement posted on the official Facebook pages of Musicost Pvt Ltd and Universal Music Australia’s Seekers.

Durham joined the Seekers in 1963, and the group soon gained international fame with hits such as “I’ll Never Find Another You” and “The Carnival Is Over”. The track “Georgie Girl” was the title song of the 1966 Lynn Redgrave film of the same name.

In March 1967, the Seekers claimed a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for their performance at the Sydney Maier Music Bowl in Melbourne, which was attended by 200,000 people – about a tenth of the city’s population at the time. The Seekers eventually sold 50 million records.

Durham left the group in 1968 for a solo career but returned in the 1990s to record with them.

“Our lives are forever changed, losing our precious lifelong friend and shining star,” Surviving Seekers members Keith Potter, Bruce Woodley and Athol Guy said in a statement, which included a comment from Durham’s sister Beverly Sheehan. Is.” “Judith’s joy for life, her relentless optimism, creativity and generosity of spirit were always an inspiration to me,” she said.

Tributes to Durham poured on social media, with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese tweeting, “A national treasure and an Australian icon, Judith Durham gave voice to a new strand of our identity and a mark for a new generation of Australian artists.” His kindness will be remembered by many. The songs he gave to our nation will never be forgotten.”

Australian NSW Labor Party leader Chris Mins wrote that Durham “was someone who not only defined a generation, but what it meant to be Australian.”

In 2015, Durham was named Victorian of the Year, an honor given by Australia’s southeastern state of Victoria. He was also awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1995 along with his bandmates. The Seekers were jointly named Australian of the Year in 1967.

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