Celebrated indigenous Australian singer, songwriter and storyteller Ruby Hunter passed away this morning after suffering a heart attack.

A two-time ARIA Award nominee, Hunter and her partner in life and music Archie Roach provided the enduring voices of the "stolen generations," and her career saw her share the stage with the likes of Bob Dylan, Joan Armatrading, Billy Bragg and Tracy Chapman.

Reports on her age vary, but is generally regarded at 54 or 55.

Hunter, a member of the Ngarrindjeri Aboriginal nationality, was forcibly removed from her family at the age of eight, and she would spend much of her formative years in foster homes and institutions. As a teenager, destitute and living on the streets, Hunter met her soulmate and musical partner Roach. She was 16 at the time, and their relationship spanned Hunter's lifetime.

Together, they became integral members of the musical collective known as the Black Arm Band, whose manifesto is to perform, promote and celebrate contemporary Australian indigenous music to the highest standard "as a symbol of resilience and hope in the spirit and action of reconciliation."

Roach's debut album release "Charcoal Lane" from 1990 carried the poignant song "Took The Children Away," which recounts how he and Hunter were forcibly removed from their parents as part of the Australian government's assimilation policies of the time. Hunter performed backing vocals on the song, which won two ARIA Awards and scooped a United Nations human rights achievement honor.

Later, Hunter and Roach collaborated with conductor Paul Grabowsky and the Australian Art Orchestra to produce "Ruby's Story," a 2004 concert which told the story of her life through song and spoken word.

Hunter has won Deadlys (the official awards for the indigenous sector) in 2000 for female artist of the year, in 2003 for outstanding contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music and the following year for excellence in film and theatrical score. Her ARIA nominations came in 1995 for best indigenous release for "Thoughts Within," and in 2000 for and best blues and roots album with "Feeling Good."

In 2001, she was awarded the prestigious Australian Centenary Medal in the Queen's New Years Honours List, in recognition of her services to the indigenous community, particularly through music and film. In the same year, Hunter made her acting debut as the tracker's wife in the Australian film "One Night the Moon."

Hunter's last performance was Feb.14 at the St Kilda Festival in Melbourne.