Australian singer Helen Reddy has passed away at the age of 78 in her home in Los Angeles.
The Australian icon, best known for her rousing feminist anthem I Am Woman which was released in 1972 propelling her to international fame passed away on Wednesday morning.
The star’s family confirmed the news, first broken by journalist Peter Ford, on their Facebook page this morning.
“It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Helen Reddy, on the afternoon of September 29th 2020 in Los Angeles,” a Facebook post from her children Traci and Jordan read.
“She was a wonderful Mother, Grandmother and a truly formidable woman. Our hearts are broken. But we take comfort in the knowledge that her voice will live on forever.”
‘Dementia struck three years ago’
Peter Ford told 6PR Radio Breakfast the star had been struggling with poor health for several years and had been suffering from dementia for three.
“She has been in not great health for several years now, you may be aware that dementia struck her about three years ago and she’s been getting progressively worse,” he told the breakfast program.
“She’d been moved into the Motion Picture retirement home, which is where, I might add, has had a massive outbreak recently of COVID-19. I’m hoping it’s not related to that.”
Conflicting reports suggest Reddy was, in fact, a resident at the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s Samuel Goldwyn Center for Behavioral Health, rather than the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital where the outbreak occurred.
Both locations are funded by the Motion Picture and Television Fund to provide retirement housing and care to performers with limited resources.
Helen memorialised in Stan’s I Am Woman
The icon of the 70s and 80s was memorialised in a Stan original film released this year celebrating her life and the path to penning and releasing her world-famous song.
The film, I Am Woman, introduced Reddy to a new generation of fans.
The star was born in Victoria on October 25 1941, and is best known as a singer, actress and activist.
She enjoyed a successful career in the US including time hosting and presenting TV.
She retired in 2002, and returned to Australia to pursue higher education, obtaining her degree, and working as a clinical hypnotherapist and motivational speaker.
In 2012 she returned to performing and her last live performance was an acapella rendition of I Am Woman at the 2017 Women’s March.
Australian entertainment journalist Peter Ford first announced the star’s passing on 6PR Breakfast on Wednesday morning, the news further shared in a subsequent tweet sent out by the radio program.
“This is sad breaking news and I think we’re the first in the world to report it,” the entertainment reporter told the program.
“I’ve got two good sources who’ve confirmed to me that Helen Reddy has died just in the last hour.”