Country music icon Joy McKean dies aged 93

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Joy McKean, the award-winning singer-songwriter and widow of Slim Dusty, has died at the age of 93.

The Australian country music icon passed away peacefully on Thursday night with family at her side, after a long battle with cancer, record label EMI Music announced in a statement on Friday.

"With heavy and sad hearts we advise the passing of Joy McKean OAM," it said.

"She will be remembered as a pioneer in Australian music."

Ms McKean was a trailblazer in music who wrote many of her late husband's songs.

She won the first ever Golden Guitar for Lights on the Hill at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in 1973.

Her partnership with Slim Dusty produced more than 100 albums and sold over 8 million records.

She is survived by two children, four grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Fellow country artist Troy Cassar-Daley led heartfelt tributes for Ms McKean.

"Joy McKean, where do I start about this beautiful woman, your songs will always be the Melodies that makes my heart sing, your emails always like a hand written note of encouragement and love," he wrote on Twitter.

Assistant trade and manufacturing minister Tim Ayres said she made a significant cultural impact..

"Joy McKean's songwriting lexicon was vast and her cultural impact huge," he wrote.

"Songs like Lights on the Hill, Biggest Disappointment and countless others were the best of country - with a love and empathy for the experience of Australians from the bush and great turns of phrase."

Music rights management organisation Apra Amcos remembered her as the grand lady of country music.

"We extend our condolences to Joy's family, friends and many fans. She will be greatly missed," Apra wrote.