Canberra author and historian Dr Kathryn Spurling with singer Helen Reddy (The Canberra Times).
A Canberra author, historian, and friend of Australian singer Helen Reddy has remembered the musical icon as “an amazing Australian” following news of her death at age 78.
Ms Reddy, famous for the feminist anthem, I Am Woman, died in Los Angeles yesterday.
“I am sad today as this country has lost an amazing Australian,” Dr Kathryn Spurling told The Canberra Times.
“Her son Jordan has contacted me with the news and added, ‘Silence please, a lady has left the stage’,” she said.
“Helen became my friend and inspiration nearly 10 years ago when I first approached her to be one of the chapters in my book Inspiring Australian Women.
“Over the ensuing years, I interviewed her and visited her in her Sydney unit and she agreed to sitting with Canberra award-winning artist Margaret Hadfield to be painted for the book.
“We both were invited backstage when she held her final concerts before returning to California to be with her son Jordan and daughter Traci and her much-loved granddaughter Lucy. Her decline in health was all too rapid.
“Helen was the first Australian Grammy winner and her song I am Woman will remain one of the most iconic music creations.”
A copy of the portrait painting (pictured, right) that Ms Reddy reportedly loved, painted by Ms Hadfield, is part of an exhibition at the Artists Shed Gallery in Fyshwick, on the outskirts of Canberra.
“Canberra’s special homage to a most amazing woman,” Dr Spurling said.
The gallery is a collaboration between Dr Spurling and Ms Hadfield.
Ms Reddy had been out of the limelight for several years after being diagnosed with dementia.
“She was a wonderful mother, grandmother and a truly formidable woman,” a family statement on her official fan Facebook page said.
“Our hearts are broken. But we take comfort in the knowledge that her voice will live on forever.”