Federal minister Peter Garrett has led tributes on Twitter for former Yothu Yindi frontman Dr M. Yunupingu, who died overnight aged 56. (Warning: This story contains an image of a deceased person.)
Peter Garrett has led tributes for former Yothu Yindi frontman Dr M. Yunupingu, who has died aged 56 at his home in the Northern Territory.
Mr Garrett, the Midnight Oil singer turned federal politician, tweeted: "Can't believe he's gone, my dear friend. A path breaker and leader. A shining light for his people. Rest in peace Mr Yunupingu."
Midnight Oil toured with Yothu Yindi in the early 90s.
Dr M. Yunupingu, the 1992 Australian of the Year, had been ill with kidney disease for several years. He died on Sunday night at his home in Yirrkala in Eastern Arnhem Land.
A relative of Dr M. Yunupingu, who did not wish to be identified, confirmed his death at his home, near Nhulunbuy.
'A TRUE BRIDGE BUILDER'
Indigenous country music star Troy Cassar-Daley also took to Twitter, calling Dr M. Yunupingu "a true bridge builder".
Speaking on the ABC, music author Robert Hillman said Dr M. Yunupingu was "one of the generation of Indigenous Australians who saw the way ahead."
"M. himself (was) a giant amongst his people and a legendary figure in Australian music."
'UNIQUELY TALENTED AND PASSIONATE ADVOCATE'
UPDATE: June 5 -The family of Dr M. Yunupingu says they are now comfortable with his image being published.
Dr M. Yunupingu was uniquely talented and a passionate advocate for Aboriginal people, Prime Minister Julia Gillard says.
"We have today lost a great Australian voice in the efforts towards reconciliation," Ms Gillard said in a statement on Monday.
"We have lost a uniquely talented musician, a passionate advocate for Aboriginal people and a truly great friend."
Ms Gillard said Dr M. Yunupingu would also be remembered as an education leader.
"He leaves a great body of work to inspire us and we will need all of that inspiration, for so much work remains undone," she said.
Federal Arts Minister Tony Burke said the nation had lost a great artist and one of its most important cultural figures.
"M. Yunupingu didn't only create a fusion of musical styles and a celebration of Australian culture, he reached people in a way that only music can.
"The passing of Mandawuy Yunupingu is a sad day for Australian music and indigenous culture."
Mr Burke said Yothu Yindi won eight ARIA music awards, including Song of the Year in 1992 for Treaty.
"This groundbreaking song was an important moment for Australia, bringing indigenous music and culture to commercial radio."
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said news of Dr M. Yunupingu's death was particularly sad because of his age.
"This is one of the real problems in modern Australia - too many Aboriginal people die too young," Mr Abbott told reporters in Canberra, paying tribute to the artist.
"He was obviously a very significant cultural figure to the wider Australian community as well as amongst Aboriginal people and it's tragic that he's gone."