Australian singer Mandawuy Yunupingu has lost his battle with kidney disease, aged 56.
The indigenous star, who fronted the band Yothu Yindi, passed away at his home in Yirrkala in Eastern Arnhem Land on Sunday (02Jun13).
In 1986, Yunupingu helped found Yothu Yindi, which shot to fame with the release of 1991 album Tribal Voice, and went on to win eight Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Awards, while last December (12) they were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in Sydney.
Yunupingu, a former school principal, spoke of his pride at receiving the tribute, insisting, "My heart is full of joy. I am so happy to see that in my lifetime indigenous music has come such a long way. To have these talented artists come together to honour the groundbreaking work of Yothu Yindi makes me proud beyond words."
The star was also named Australian of the Year in 1992 in recognition of his efforts to bring together Australia's indigenous and non-indigenous people.
Singer Troy Cassar-Daley was among the first to pay tribute to Yunupingu, tweeting, "Sad news with the passing of Yothu Yindi's Mandawuy Yunupingu, a true bridge builder... RIP Brother," while Midnight Oil frontman-turned-politician Peter Garrett added, "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."