Helen Reddy, the singer best known for the feminist anthem I Am Woman, has died aged 78.
Australia-born Reddy died in Los Angeles on Tuesday, according to a statement from her family.
“It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother,” the singer’s daughters, Traci and Jordan, said.
“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 moved to the US and had success with the 1971 song I Don’t Know How to Love Him from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. She then signed to Capitol Records.
She had a prolific career with other hits including Ain’t No Way To Treat A Lady, Delta Dawn, Angie Baby and You And Me Against The World.
Her TV series, The Helen Reddy Show, provided early national exposure for Albert Brooks and The Pointer Sisters.
In the mid-1980s, Reddy embarked on a new career in the theatre, working mostly in musicals such as Anything Goes, Call Me Madam and in Blood Brothers that opened on Broadway and in the West End.
But it was I Am Woman for which Reddy is best known. The song became a feminist anthem and won her the best female vocal pop performance Grammy in 1973.
Thank you Helen for teaching me to be stong & invincible as an artist a woman & 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 #RIPHelenReddy pic.twitter.com/utuoGa71ky
— Unjoo Moon (@unjoomoon) September 30, 2020
I Am Woman was also the name of the 2019 biopic about Reddy’s life.
The film’s director, Unjoo Moon, paid tribute on Twitter: “Thank you Helen for teaching me to be strong & invincible as an artist a woman & 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.”
Actress Jamie Lee Curtis said introducing Reddy at the 2017 Women’s March in Los Angeles was the “honour of my life”.
A message posted by the official Twitter account of 1970s R&B group The Pointer Sisters said: “We are so sad to hear that #HelenReddy has passed away. Our first television appearance was on her show. #RIPHelenReddy Condolences to her family, friends and fans.”
Reddy announced her retirement in 2002 and moved from California back to Australia to be with her family.
At a ceremony in August 2006 Reddy was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame by actress Toni Collette, who described I Am Woman as “timeless”.