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Elisabeth Murdoch, matriarch of media family business, dies

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, the mother of media mogul Rupert Murdoch and a noted philanthropist, died on 5 December aged 103 at her home in Australia.

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, the mother of media mogul Rupert Murdoch and a noted philanthropist, died on 5 December aged 103 at her home in Australia.

In a message on his Twitter account, Rupert, who heads up News Corporation, described Elisabeth as “a great lady, wife, mother and citizen”.

Born in Melbourne, Elisabeth married newspaperman Keith Murdoch in 1928 – he was 28 years her senior and one of the city’s most eligible bachelors. The couple had four children and were married for 24 years before his sudden death in 1952.

Elisabeth was best known for her philanthropic work, supporting an estimated 100 charities in her lifetime, and had a particular interest in the arts and children’s health.

She was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1963 for her good works and was awarded a similar honour – Companion of the Order of Australia – in 1989.

Alongside her charity work, it is thought she played an influential role behind the scenes at the family business – supporting both her husband and later her son as they expanded the media empire.

Kim Williams from New Corp’s News Limited in Australia described her as “an extraordinary national figure who inspired generations of Australians through her selfless devotion to helping others”.

He added: “We feel the loss intensely because she was the wife of Sir Keith Murdoch and mother of our chairman Rupert Murdoch, both towering figures in our national story and the builders of our own media heritage here at News.”   

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