Australian jazz and soul icon Renée Rebecca Geyer has died at the age of 69. The singer who was long regarded as one of the finest exponents of jazz, soul, and R&B idioms died from complications following hip surgery.
Although Geyer was in the hospital for hip surgery in Geelong, she, however, died from complications after surgery, according to a statement by her record label, the Mushroom Group, on Tuesday. While in the hospital, she was also diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.
“Geyer died peacefully among family and friends,” her label said.
“Naturally we are all utterly devastated.”
“Just last month, Renée sang to a full house and was looking forward to another busy year ahead doing what she loved most – performing for her loyal fans around the country,” the statement said.
“Renée lived her life as she performed – on her terms and to the fullest. Beloved and respected, she was a force of nature and a national treasure, and her passing leaves a giant void in the Australian music industry.”
In the 1970s, Geyer, known for her gruff voice, became well-accepted in society.
She identified herself as a 65-year-old black male from Alabama sounding like a white Hungarian Jew from Australia. She started her solo career with a self-titled album in 1973 after recording an album with the jazz-rock combo Sun the previous year.