It has been reported overnight that ARIA-award winning and internationally recognised indigenous singer and multi-instrumentalist, Dr G. Yunupingu, has tragically passed away at Royal Darwin Hospital, aged 46, following a long battle with liver and kidney-related illness.
Born blind and raised in the remote community of Galiwin'ku on Elcho Island, 500 kilometres east of Darwin, Dr Yunupingu learned guitar at a young age. He joined famous indigenous band Yothu Yindi as a teenager before pursuing a solo career. Singing predominantly in his native Yolngu language, he released his self-titled debut in 2008, which peaked on the ARIA charts at #3. A result repeated with sophomore LP, Rrakala, and again climbing to #3 on the national album charts with 2015's The Gospel Album, a collection of reimagined traditional Christian songs.
Selling over half a million copies of his music worldwide, Dr G. Yunupingu performed alongside Stevie Wonder, Paul Kelly and Missy Higgins, as well as played for audiences that included Barack Obama, the Pope and Queen Elizabeth II. Dr G. Yunupingu graced the cover of Rolling Stone Australia in 2011, where he was described as "Australia's most important voice." His passing comes only months ahead of a documentary on the singer was set to screen at the Melbourne Festival.
Representatives of Dr G. Yunupingu have issued a statement describing Dr G. Yunupingu as the "Australian voice of a generation", as well as highlighting that beyond his music-related accolades, he remained involved in his community via the G. Yunupingu Foundation.
Others have also shared tributes online, including Peter Garrett, NITV presenter Allan Clarke and Briggs.
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
Another beautiful soul taken too soon. A proud Yolngu man who inspired millions through his music. RIP Dr G. Yunupingu. Your songs live on. pic.twitter.com/FxoVhwnS8t— Allan Clarke (@AllanJClarke) July 25, 2017
The family has requested that images and the first name of Dr G. Yunupingu not be published.