Helen Reddy Dead, ‘I Am Woman’ Singer And Feminist Icon Dies At 78

The Grammy-winning singer was known for her empowering 1970s anthems.

Helen Reddy arrives at the 2006 ARIA Hall of Fame at the Regent Theatre on August 16, 2006 Melbourne, Australia.
Kristian Dowling / Getty Images

The Grammy-winning singer was known for her empowering 1970s anthems.

Helen Reddy has died. The 1970s music pioneer best known for the feminist anthem “I Am Woman” died at age 78 in Los Angeles, Variety reported.

In a statement, Reddy’s children, Traci and Jordan, said she was a wonderful mother, grandmother, and a “truly formidable woman.”

“Our hearts are broken. But we take comfort in the knowledge that her voice will live on forever,” the family said.

Reddy’s ex-husband and manager, Jeff Wald, said his former wife of 18 years had been under the “excellent care” of the Motion & Television Home before her passing.

No cause of death was specified, but Reddy had battled dementia since 2015 and had been residing at the famous Los Angeles retirement home for a period of time, according to Extra.

The singer’s death comes less than three weeks after the release of a biopic about her life, titled I Am Woman.

She Was Known For Her Music And Acting Career

Helen Reddy in Londom in May 1978.
  John Minihan / Getty Images

In the 1970s, Reddy recorded several chart-topping hits, including the No. 1 single “I Am Woman,” which became an anthem for the women’s rights movement, in 1972. Throughout the ’70s, the Australian-born singer was a Top 40 radio staple with her subsequent hits “Delta Dawn,” “Angie Baby,” “Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady,” and “I Can’t Hear You No More.”

In 1973, she made headlines at the Grammy Awards as she accepted the award for Best Pop Female Vocalist. During her speech, Reddy thanked God “because She makes everything possible.”

She went on to star in a self-titled television variety show and landed roles in the films Pete’s Dragon and Airport 1975. During the height of her career, she made TV cameos on The Jeffersons, Love Boat, and Fantasy Island.

She also made two appearances on The Mac Davis Show, in 1974 and 1975. Sadly, Davis, best known for the 1972 hit “Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me,” died on September 29, 2020, the same day as Reddy.

Reddy retired from music in the 1990s. In an interview with The Associated Press, she revealed that she stopped singing after she found her name and song lyrics in a high school history textbook under a chapter on feminism.

“And I thought, ‘Well, I’m part of history now. And how do I top that? I can’t top that.’ So, it was an easy withdrawal,” she said.

She Is Being Mourned By The Entertainment World

Following the news of the Grammy winner’s death, fans and famous friends paid tribute to her on social media.

On Twitter, actress Jamie Lee Curtis shared a clip of herself introducing the feminism pioneer for a special appearance at the Women’s March in Los Angeles three years ago.

“Honor of my life. Introducing Helen at the Women’s March, January 2017,” Curtis wrote. “THANK YOU Helen. RIP Read the lyrics. Song she wrote and performed to great acclaim.”

In addition, the Pointer Sisters recalled that their first television performance was on Reddy’s 1973 variety show as they shared a vintage concert poster for a joint billing with the Australian hitmaker. The group offered condolences to the late singer’s family and friends.

Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, also paid tribute to Reddy’s legacy in a social media post seen below.