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Two 70s singers die: Helen Reddy of 'I Am Woman' and country star Mac Davis

Two 70s singers die: Helen Reddy of 'I Am Woman' and country star Mac Davis

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Helen Reddy, who shot to stardom in the 1970s with her rousing feminist anthem "I Am Woman" and recorded a string of other hits, has died. She was 78.

Reddy's children Traci and Jordan announced that the actor-singer died Tuesday in Los Angeles. "She was a wonderful Mother, Grandmother and a truly formidable woman," they said in a statement. "Our hearts are broken. But we take comfort in the knowledge that her voice will live on forever."

Legendary country singer and songwriter Mac Davis, also 78, died after heart surgery, his manager said Tuesday. Davis found fame for writing hits "In the Ghetto" and "A Little Less Conversation" for Elvis Presley. 

As for Reddy, her 1971 version of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar" launched a decade-long string of Top 40 hits, three of which reached No. 1.

The Australian-born singer enjoyed a prolific career, appearing in "Airport 1975" as a singing nun and scoring several hits, including "Ain't No Way To Treat a Lady," "Delta Dawn," "Angie Baby" and "You and Me Against the World."

In 1973 she won the best female vocal pop performance Grammy Award for "I Am Woman," quickly thanking her then-husband and others in her acceptance speech.

"I only have 10 seconds so I would like to thank everyone from Sony Capitol Records, I would like to think Jeff Wald because he makes my success possible and I would like to thank God because she makes everything possible," Reddy said, hoisting her Grammy in the air and leaving the stage to loud applause. She also performed the song at the ceremony.

"I Am Woman" would become her biggest hit, used in films and television series.

In a 2012 interview with The Associated Press, Reddy cited the gigantic success of "I Am Woman" as one of the reasons she stepped out of public life.

"That was one of the reasons that I stopped singing, was when I was shown a modern American history high-school textbook, and a whole chapter on feminism and my name and my lyrics (were) in the book," she told the AP. "And I thought, `Well, I'm part of history now. And how do I top that? I can't top that.' So, it was an easy withdrawal."

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Reddy's death comes less than three weeks after the release of a biopic about her life called "I Am Woman."

Reddy retired from performing in the 1990s and returned to Australia, getting her degree in clinical hypnotherapy.

She later returned to California, where in the 1970s she had served on a statewide Parks and Recreation Commission, and returned to the stage occasionally.

In Nashville, Mac Davis died surrounded by his wife, Lise, and his sons, his manager, Jim Morey, wrote on Facebook.

His manager called him "a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend." 

Singer Mac Davis

Musician Mac Davis arrives at the Texas Film Awards on Thursday, March 6, 2014 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP)

News of Davis' death comes days after his family said he had become "critically ill" after undergoing heart surgery in Nashville.

Davis -- born Morris Mac Davis -- made his debut as a country music artist with his 1970 album "Song Painter."

His breakthrough album "Baby, Don't Get Hooked On Me" was released two years later.

Davis, whose hits include "Stop and Smell the Roses" and "One Hell of a Woman," received worldwide recognition for his contribution to music and was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1998.

He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2000 and the national Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006.

Along with his musical accomplishments, Davis enjoyed modest success as a television personality and actor. He hosted his own variety series "The Mac Davis Show" on NBC from 1974 to 1976.

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