TRAILBLAZING Aboriginal singer Jimmy Little, whose career spanned 56 years, has died after a long battle with illness. He was 75.
Little began his foray into music in 1956 with his first single Mysteries of Life/Heartbreak Waltz.
It was the start of an illustrious career, which also included stints as actor. He was the winner of countless industry awards.
But his exploits were not confined to the arts.
Little taught and mentored indigenous music students at the Eora Centre in Redfern from 1985 and was an ambassador for literacy and numeracy for the Department of Education from 2002.
He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours of 2004 and was named a Living National Treasure in the same year. Little and the composer Peter Sculthorpe were awarded an honorary doctorate in music in recognition of "their joint contribution to reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians".
His community work earned him the title of NAIDOC Aboriginal of the Year in 1989.
Little wife Marjorie Rose Peters died in July last year.