30 September 2020

Helen Reddy, singer of feminist anthem ‘I Am Woman' dies, aged 78

Helen Reddy, best known for her 1972 feminist hit ‘I Am Woman,’ has died at the age of 78.

The Australian star was diagnosed with dementia in 2015 and had been living in a nursing home for celebrities in Los Angeles. 

Her children Traci Donat and Jordan Sommers announced the news.

They wrote on Facebook: "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.

“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.”

She was labelled a ‘feminist icon’ after her anthem ‘I Am Woman’ which became important in the women's liberation movement. 

The hit made Reddy the biggest-selling female artist globally for two years running and collected a Grammy in 1973 as a result of her success. 

In her early 20s she won a talent contest and her career began after she released ‘I Don’t Know How To Love Him’ in 1971.

In 1974 Reddy received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame before officially retiring in 2002.

The former Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard paid tribute on Twitter, writing: “We have lost a global feminist icon in Helen Reddy. For decades her song ‘I am Woman’ has given full-throated voice to our fight for gender equality.  Every word still relevant, no message dated, including we have ‘a long, long way to go’. Her legacy will endure. Hear us roar.”

One fan said: “What a very sad day indeed. RIP the legendary Helen Reddy. Superb musician, vocalist, actress and feminist icon. Here she is on the set of PETE'S DRAGON (1977). Think I will give that a watch tonight and cry. Thank you, Ms. Reddy.”

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