Archie Roach, Aboriginal musician, songwriter and artist, dead at 66 after ‘a remarkable life’

Famous Indigenous musician, songwriter and artist Archie Roach has died at the age of 66 after a long illness.

Disclaimer: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this article contains images and names of deceased persons.

His sons released a statement saying they were “heartbroken” to announce the death of the Gunditjmara (Kirrae Whurrong / Djab Wurrung), Bundjalung Senior Elder, singer and storyteller.

Amos and Eban Roach say Archie died surrounded by family and loved ones at Warrnambool Base Hospital in Victoria.

“We thank all of the staff who have cared for Archie over the past month,” his sons said in their statement.

“Archie wanted all of his many fans to know how much he loves you for supporting him along the way.

“We are so proud of all that our father has accomplished in his remarkable life. He was a healer and a unifying force.

“His music brings people together.”

A private ceremony will follow.

His family has asked the media to respect their privacy.

Archie’s sons have licensed the use of Archie’s name, likeness and music, so that his legacy continues to inspire.

Archie’s Many Awards and Legacy

Archie Roach shot to fame after releasing the song Took the Children Away.

Archie Roach first rose to fame after releasing the song Took the Children Away featured on his debut album Charcoal lane in 1990.

He went on to win numerous awards, including a Deadly Award for a Lifetime Contribution to Healing the Stolen Generations in 2013.

Archie was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2020.

As a performer, he opened shows for international artists like Bob Dylan, Tracy Chapman and Joan Armatrading.

He was born in Mooroopna in Victoria and was named after an Aboriginal word referring to a bend in the Goulburn River.

Archie and his wife Ruby Hunter moved to Melbourne in the late 1980s after forming a band with other Aboriginal musicians.

After Ruby’s death in 2010, Archie suffered a stroke and endured other health issues, including lung cancer.

Despite the removal of a lung, he continued to perform using an oxygen tube.