Sydney, 30 September 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Australian singer Helen Reddy, best known for her feminist anthem “I Am Woman,” has died in Los Angeles aged 78, her family announced Wednesday.
“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,” her children Traci and Jordan wrote on the singer’s official Facebook page.
“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.”
Reddy was the first Australian to win a Grammy Award and top the US charts for “I Am Woman,” which was first released in 1971.
In her 1973 Grammy acceptance speech she thanked god, “because she makes everything possible.”
The opening words of her song “I am woman, hear me roar” were heard as a rallying cry for feminists during the 1970s.
Reddy, an activist and actress, told Canada’s CBC Radio in 1972 that she wanted to get into the “hearts and minds” of women.
“I’m trying to find a way to reach them… to give them a confidence in themselves that they’ve never had.”
After Reddy quoted her song lyrics “I am strong, I am invincible. I am woman,” the CBC reporter asked the singer if she was invincible.
“Damn right,” Reddy replied.
Reddy had been out of the limelight for several years after being diagnosed with dementia.
The singer’s life was recently turned into a movie, which had its world premier at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2019.
The film’s director Unjoo Moon posted a tribute to Reddy on Twitter, thanking her “for teaching me to be strong and invincible as an artist a woman and a mother.”
“You paved the way for so many. The lyrics that you wrote for #Iamwoman changed my life like they have done for so many people and will continue to do for generations to come,” Moon wrote.
Reddy was born on October 25, 1941, in Melbourne, Victoria.