‘Grand lady’ of Australian country music dies

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Australian country singer Joy McKean has died, 20 years after he husband Slim Dusty. Picture: NCA

Multi-award-winning songwriter and musician Joy McKean has died at the age of 93, record company EMI has announced.

McKean, the wife and manager of her late husband Slim Dusty, was known as the “grand lady” of Australian country music.

She died peacefully in her sleep surrounded by family on Thursday following a long battle with cancer.

“With heavy and sad hearts we advise the passing of Joy McKean OAM,” EMI said in a statement.

“She will be remembered as a pioneer in Australian music.

“Joy McKean was a multi-award winning songwriter and musician who wrote many of her husband Slim Dusty’s most famous songs and won the first Golden Guitar awarded at the Tamworth Country Music Festival for Lights on the Hill.

“Her musical partnership with Slim produced over 100 albums, sold over eight million albums and earned 45 Golden Guitars. Joy was Slim’s manager, ran the business and most importantly loved and raised the family.”

Slim Dusty and Joy McKean. Picture: Supplied.
Slim Dusty and Joy McKean. Picture: Supplied.

McKean was born in Singleton, NSW in January 1930.

Her death follows Slim’s passing in 2003 at the age of 76.

She was his wife and manager for more than 50 years.

McKean is survived by her children Anne Kirkpatrick and David Kirkpatrick, four grandchildren and six great grandchildren.