One of Australia’s most prominent Indigenous musicians, Dr G. Yunupingu, has died at the age of 46, with tributes for the late singer-songwriter flowing in from around the music community.
In a statement, the ARIA Award-winner’s label Skinnyfish Music say, “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.
“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.”
Dr Yunupingu was Australia’s highest selling Indigenous artist, releasing three studio albums and even performing for the likes of Queen Elizabeth II and Barack Obama. He was also a community leader, and created opportunities for young people in the Northern Territory through his G. Yunupingu Foundation.
Dr Yunupingu rose to prominence after winning two ARIA Awards for his debut solo album in 2008, after spending some time in Yothu Yindi. Last year, his claims of mistreatment in hospital were dismissed by the NT Health Minister, who caused controversy by suggesting they were publicity stunts.
Dr Yunupingu’s death has been followed by a number of tributes from his close friends and collaborators, including Briggs and Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett. See a number of tributes, below.
My dear friend Dr Yunupingu – a truly great musician – is gone. Very sad news. Too young, so much left to give. Heart goes out to family.
— Peter Garrett (@pgarrett) July 25, 2017
So sad to hear of Dr Yunupingu's passing. Was one of the highlights of my life singing with him. We're lucky to have known him. RIP friend
— Missy Higgins (@missyhiggins) July 25, 2017
Rip Brother Dr G Yunupingu, you were a light among us love to his Family & the Galiwin’ku community NT pic.twitter.com/drVp5sUasu
— Troy Cassar-Daley (@troycassardaley) July 25, 2017
As if the songs of Dr Yunupingu didn't already bring a tear to my eyes. So sad to hear of his passing. A beautifully talented Australian.
— Adam Hills (@adamhillscomedy) July 25, 2017