Legendary Aboriginal singer and songwriter Archie Roach dies at the age of 66 – as his heartbroken family issue a moving tribute about his ‘remarkable life’
Renowned Aboriginal singer Archie Roach has died at the age of 66 after battling a long-term illness.
Loved ones confirmed the Gunditjmara and Bundjalung elder was surrounded by friends and family at Victoria’s Warrnambool Base Hospital when he passed.
His sons, Amos and Eban Roach, said they were ‘heartbroken’ to announce the death of their ‘songman and storyteller’ dad on Saturday.
Roach was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2011 and had suffered a stroke a year prior. He later had half his lung removed.
His sons gave permission for his name and picture to be used ‘so that his legacy will continue to inspire’.
‘Archie wanted all of his many fans to know how much he loves you for supporting him along the way,’ their statement read.
‘We are so proud of everything our dad achieved in his remarkable life. He was a healer and unifying force. His music brought people together.’
They also thanked all the staff who had been caring for Roach over the past month.
A private ceremony will follow.
His wife Ruby Hunter died in 2010. In recent years Roach needed the aid of oxygen during live performances.
Gunditjmara (Kirrae Whurrong/Djab Wurrung), Bundjalung Senior Elder, songman and storyteller Archie Roach has died, aged 66.
The Australian singer-songwriter’s death was confirmed by his record label on Saturday evening, in a statement on behalf of his family.
Sons Amos and Eban Roach “have given permission for Archie’s name, image and music to be used, so that his legacy will continue to inspire,” it said.
Roach, a member of the Stolen Generation, passed away on Saturday surrounded by his family and loved ones, at Warrnambool Base Hospital in Victoria following a long illness.
The singer, who survived a stroke in 2010 was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2011. He took to the stage at the St Kilda Festival in February this year, wearing a breathing aide.
“We thank all the staff who have cared for Archie over the past month,” the statement said.
“Archie wanted all of his many fans to know how much he loves you for supporting him along the way.
“We are so proud of everything our dad achieved in his remarkable life. He was a healer and unifying force.
“His music brought people together.”
Many took to social media to pay tribute to the iconic Australian, including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
“Our country has lost a brilliant talent, a powerful and prolific national truth teller,” the PM tweeted.
“Archie’s music drew from a well of trauma and pain, but it flowed with a beauty and a resonance that moved us all.
“We grieve for his death, we honour his life and we hold to the hope that his words, his music and his indomitable spirit will live on to guide us and inspire us.”
Tonight we mourn the passing of Archie Roach.
Our country has lost a brilliant talent, a powerful and prolific national truth teller.
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) July 30, 2022
While Victorian Premier Dan Andrews wrote: “Few people have put the pain, the suffering, the hope and the pride of Aboriginal people into words like Archie Roach.
Few people have put the pain, the suffering, the hope and the pride of Aboriginal people into words like Archie Roach.
His music is remarkable because it tells a remarkable story.
His own story.
— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) July 30, 2022
“His music is remarkable because it tells a remarkable story. His own story.”
Cathy Freeman said she was “So saddened to hear the passing of such a champion for First Nations people and all humanity”
“I will remember (Uncle) Archie Roach as such a courageous story teller and remarkable musician!,” the Olympian added.