20:33 19 January 2010
Canadian folk singer Kate McGarrigle has died of cancer at the age of 63.
The mother of singers Rufus and Martha Wainwright, McGarrigle died at her Montreal home on Monday.
McGarrigle rose to fame with sister Anna in the 1970s when they recorded together.
The duo, born in Montreal, grew up in the mountains of Quebec, where they learned the piano from the village nuns.
Anna announced her sister's passing on their website saying: "Sadly our sweet Kate had to leave us last night.
"She departed in a haze of song and love surrounded by family and good friends.
"She is irreplaceable and we are broken-hearted. Til we meet again dear sister."
Kate had been battling cancer since the summer of 2006. The disease had started in her small intestine and spread to her liver.
The duo first gained prominence when Linda Ronstadt recorded their song 'Heart Like a Wheel' as the title track for one of her albums in 1974.
However, their first record together, titled, ' Kate and Anna McGarrigle' came out in 1975, to much critical acclaim.
Their songs were covered by numerous artists, including Elvis Costello, Kirsty MacColl, Judy Collins, Emmylou Harris and Billy Bragg.
BBC Radio 2's folk show host Mike Harding paid tribute to the singer: "Kate was a folk singer through and through, a bi-lingual Canadian who celebrated her heritage and drew on it for songs that were to become standards on the folk scene. "
"It is tragic that she has finally lost her fight with cancer - she was a beautiful and rare human being.
"Through the years, I've played Kate and Anna McGarrigle's music on my programmes and really loved the warmth of their music.
"When she sang in French there was a warmth and a feeling to it that kind of transcended language in some way and communicated anywhere."
McGarrigle made her last public appearance at a concert with Rufus and Martha Wainwright at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
However, Rufus Wainwright recently cancelled an upcoming tour due to a "family illness".
McGarrigle's songs included 'The Work Song', 'Cool River' and 'Lying Song'.
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