Washington: The Australian singer Helen Reddy who was known for her feminist anthem ‘I Am Woman’, has passed away, her family said in a statement on Wednesday.
She was 78.
Reddy had been diagnosed with dementia in 2015 and she spent the last years of her life in a celebrity care home in Los Angeles, where she died on Tuesday, the BBC reported.
Reddy was at the peak of her popularity in the 1960’s and 70s when had a string of pop and rock hits, but is best known for the 1972 anthem ‘I Am Woman’ – a rousing tune which became prominent in the women’s liberation movement on the 1970s.
A sleeper hit, it went on to sell millions of copies worldwide, making Reddy the biggest-selling female artist globally for two years running.
While receiving her Grammy Award in 1973 for best female vocalist, Reddy famously thanked “God because she makes everything possible.”
Reddy was born in Melbourne in 1941, and grew up in a showbiz family with actor parents, and performed regularly as a child.
After winning a talent contest in Australia, her prize ticket took her to New York City in the 1960s, where she auditioned for a recording contract, which however did not work out but Reddy decided to stay on in the US, later signing with Capitol Records.
Her first hit, ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’, was followed by a succession of others including Crazy Love, Delta Dawn, and Angie Baby.
But it was her second hit, I Am Woman, which catapulted her to international fame and became a defining song for a generation of women.
In between touring internationally, she also hosted a season of the Helen Reddy Show on NBC TV at a prime-time slot in 1973. A year later she was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.