Acclaimed musician Dr G Yunupingu has died at 46

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Dr G Yunupingu has passed away in a Darwin hospital.

Acclaimed singer Dr G Yunupingu has passed away in a Darwin hospital at the age of 46.

His self-titled album of 2008 went triple platinum in Australia, helping him become the highest charting Indigenous artist in Australian history. The album, along with his follow-ups Rrakala and The Gospel Album, helped him win acclaim the world over, collectively selling over half a million copies.

Back at home, he won ARIA awards, had a top five single and became a household name, all while continuing to sing in his native Yolngu language.

But perhaps his greatest contribution to the Australian music landscape came via his transcendent live performances. His otherworldly voice wowed audiences in festivals and theatres everywhere and will be greatly missed. 

The singer was born and raised in Galiwin'ku on Elcho Island, where he remained for most of his life as a leader in the community. Through his G. Yunupingu Foundation, he helped give opportunities to young people across the Northern Territory.

He was born blind, but considered that no obstacle to following his passion for music. The artist was hugely skilled on a number of instruments and lent his talents to countless Australian bands across the years. He was a member of Yothu Yindi and Saltwater Band, collaborated with everyone from Delta Goodrem to A.B. Original to Sarah Blasko and earned praise from the likes of Elton John, Quincy Jones and Bjork.

Dr G Yunupingu had suffered with illness for a long time. He contracted Hepatitis B as a child, causing liver and kidney disease, and had bouts of illness that sidelined him for stretches of time. 

Stay tuned to Double J as we continue to celebrate the legacy of Dr G Yunupingu over the coming days.