Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this article contains images of deceased persons.
Indigenous leader Yunupingu has passed away at the age of 74.
Yunupingu, a Yolngu man and the Gumatj clan leader, was known for his longtime advocacy work, campaigning for land rights for Indigenous Australians.
The influential leader was one of the architects of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which called for Constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians, as well as the upcoming Voice to parliament vote.
He was named Australian of the Year in 1978, made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1985, and was later made an honourary Doctor of Laws by Melbourne University in 2015.
Yunupingu became the first chairman of the Northern Land Council in 1977, and was re-elected to the position in 1983, which he held until his retirement in 2004.
Yunupingu walked in two worlds with authority, power and grace, and he worked to make them whole — together. He was a leader, a statesman, a great Yolngu man and a great Australian. He now walks in another place, but he has left such great footsteps for us to follow in this one. pic.twitter.com/aOgZMU6UTJ
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) April 2, 2023
Yunupingu’s family broke the news of his passing as they issued an emotional statement, saying they mourned his death “with deep love and great sadness”.
“The loss to our family and community is profound. We are hurting, but we honour him and remember with love everything he has done for us,” daughter Binmila Yunupingu said.
“We remember him for his fierce leadership, and total strength for Yolngu and for Aboriginal people throughout Australia. He lived by our laws always.
The family said Yunupingu would be returned to his land and will be honoured in ceremonies to be announced in due course.
“There will never be another like him,” Binmila said.
Yunupingu’s family have given permission for the use of his surname and image to be used in media articles.
Image credits: Getty Images
This article first appeared on Over60.