MARTHA and Rufus Wainwright's mother, Canadian folk singer-songwriter KATE MCGARRIGLE, has died after losing her battle with cancer. She was 63.
MCGarrigle passed away on Monday (18Jan10) at her home in Montreal, Canada, surrounded by friends and family, less than a month before her 64th birthday.
She had been battling a rare type of kidney cancer - clear cell sarcoma.
Over the weekend (16-17Jan10), singer Rufus cancelled his Australia and New Zealand tour, which was scheduled to begin next month (Feb10), so he could spend time with his mother after her condition deteriorated.
The Wainwright matriarch, who was divorced from American singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III, was best known as one half of the MCGarrigle Sisters, the group she formed with her younger sibling Anna.
The pair released 10 albums throughout its career, recording songs such as Heart Like a Wheel, Work Song and Cool River, and collaborating with acts including Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. The pair's tracks have also been recorded by other artists, including Judy Collins, Marianne Faithfull and Emmylou Harris.
The star was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1993, along with her sister.
MCGarrigle's doctor, Robert Tabah, confirmed the sad news to Guardian.co.uk: "Kate MCGarrigle passed away yesterday as a result of sarcoma, a form of cancer that she was first diagnosed with three and a half years ago. Kate was a remarkable and warm woman, who pursued everything in life with humour and grace. I was amazed by her courage and stamina."