The Grammy-winning song became an unofficial anthem for the women's rights movement in the 1970s

By Georgia Slater
September 30, 2020 08:55 AM

Helen Reddy, the hitmaker behind the feminist anthem "I Am Woman," died Tuesday in Los Angeles. She was 78.

The singer's children Traci Donat and Jordan Sommers confirmed Reddy's death on her official fan page, writing it was with ″deep sadness″ that they announced the news.

″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 statement said.

The Australia-born singer released the pro-feminist track ″I Am Woman" in 1971, which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart the following year and became an unofficial anthem for the women's rights movement in the 1970s.

She won her first Grammy for the hit song in 1973 and went on to become the world's top-selling female singer in 1973 and 1974, Entertainment Tonight reported.

Credit: Ian Dickson/Redferns

″I would like to thank God, because she makes everything possible,″ Reddy said in her famous Grammy acceptance speech.

The icon followed ″I Am Woman″ with popular tracks including ″Delta Dawn,″ ″Angie Baby,″ and ″Ain't No Way to Treat a Lady."

Credit: Gary Null / Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

The singer also scored her own network variety series, The Helen Reddy Show, which premiered in June 1973 but was only on-air for a few months.

Jeff Wald, Reddy's ex-husband and former manager, also paid tribute to the late singer on Instagram.

"It is with great sadness that I must announce that my first wife of 18 years and the mother of my two eldest children, Helen Reddy, passed suddenly and peacefully at the Motion Picture and Television Home today," he wrote alongside a series of photos of the pair.

"It took a while but we managed to become friends again after the divorce," he continued. "We had many ups and downs, but more ups than downs. Life is precious and short, tell the people you love how you feel and don’t hold grudges."

The singer's life was recently honored in the biopic I Am Woman, starring Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Danielle Macdonald, and Evan Peters,

The film tells the story of Reddy, who broke barriers as a single mother in New York City and defied the odds to become a hit singer.

Credit: John Sciulli/Getty Images

The movie first premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2019 before it came to theaters and streaming services earlier this month.

″When I first met Helen Reddy she told me that I would be in her life for many years. What followed was an amazing 7-year friendship during which she entrusted me with telling her story in a film that celebrates her life, her talents and her amazing legacy,″ the film's director, Unjoo Moon, told Deadline in a statement.

″I will forever be grateful to Helen for teaching me so much about being an artist, a woman and a mother," she continued. "She paved the way for so many and the lyrics that she wrote for 'I Am Woman' changed my life forever like they have done for so many other people and will continue to do for generations to come."