The Age has reported that world-renowned singer, Dr G Yunupingu, died on Tuesday at the age of just 46 from illness at the Royal Darwin Hospital. He had been reportedly battling chronic liver and kidney-related problems. His record label Skinnyfish also announced his passing in a statement.
“Today we mourn the loss of a great Australian, Dr G. Yunupingu who sadly passed away yesterday in Royal Darwin Hospital at age 46 after a long battle with illness,” read the statement.
“Dr G. Yunpingu 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 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.
“Dr G. Yunupingu also gave back to his community as the driving force behind the G. Yunupingu Foundation, creating opportunities for young people across the Northern Territory. 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.”
Due to cultural sensitivities the label has requested the media not to use images or the first name of Dr Yunupingu ‘until further consultation with the family.’
According to The Age, the singer-songwriter from Elcho Island, who was born blind, became the highest-selling Indigenous artist in history, selling more than half a million copies of his albums, which were sung in a mix of Yolngu and English.