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Last Updated: Friday, 19 September, 2003, 10:51 GMT 11:51 UK
Australian singer Slim Dusty dies
Australian country singer Slim Dusty has died after a long battle with cancer at the age of 76.

The musician, who released more than 100 albums during his 58-year career, died at his home on Friday.

Dusty signed his first record contract in 1946 but his career really took off 10 years later with the hit song A Pub With No Beer.

He went on to become one of Australia's most prolific recording artists, with album sales of more than five million.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard called Dusty an important figure in country music.

Legendary

"We'll always remember that special style, epitomised really by A Pub With No Beer," said Mr Howard.

"He was a one-off, a great bloke in the proper sense of that expression and a great Australian figure and icon," he said.

Music historian Glenn A Baker said Dusty was "intrinsically and unapologetically Australian. He really was someone to be enormously proud of."

Slim Dusty was born David Gordon Kirkpatrick in 1927 in the north eastern town of Kempsey, and grew up on a dairy farm in the nearby village of Nulla Nulla Creek.

Sporting

He wrote his first song, titled The Way The Cowboy Dies, at the age of 10, and changed his name to Slim Dusty a year later.

He performed to his biggest audience at the closing ceremony of the Sydney Olympics in 2000, with a rendition of the famous Australian song Waltzing Matilda.

The singer-songwriter, known for his trademark cowboy hat, said at the time: "I remember an enormous smile on my face thinking, 'There are four billion people around the world sitting there wondering what this old bloke in the hat with the flat voice was singing about a sheep thief.'"

Dusty is survived by his wife Joy McKean and his son and daughter, David and Anne Kirkpatrick.





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