, SYDNEY, Dec 5 – Elisabeth Murdoch, mother of News Corp. tycoon Rupert and a famed philanthropist, has died at the age of 103, Australian news reports said late on Wednesday.
Murdoch, who was appointed a dame for her charitable work by Queen Elizabeth II in 1963, passed away at her home in the suburbs of Melbourne, the Australian Associated Press news agency reported.
“We have lost the most wonderful mother but we are all grateful to have had her love and wisdom for so many years,” her son Rupert Murdoch said in a statement quoted by AAP.
“Throughout her life, our mother demonstrated the very best qualities of true public service.
“Her energy and personal commitment made our country a more hopeful place and she will be missed by many.”
The widow of Australian journalist and newspaper publisher Keith Murdoch, she was hospitalised in September after a fall in her home in which she broke her leg.
“Dame Elisabeth was a philanthropist of the old school, quietly helping dozens of causes and charities with minimum fanfare,” the Sydney Morning Herald said.
“She was interested in everybody and everything, equally comfortable with a gardener in overalls as she was with a governor-general in full regalia,” it added.
The renowned centenarian was the patron of more than 100 charities and was not afraid to part views with her media tycoon son on issues including his acquisition of the now-defunct News of the World tabloid.
“I didn’t approve at all,” she recalled in a 2009 interview.
“What they published was intruding into people’s privacy.”
News of the World was closed last year after a damaging phone-hacking scandal in Britain which has seen charges laid against a number of News International staff including the newspaper’s former editor Rebekah Brooks.
“Rupert and I don’t always agree but we respect each others’ attitudes,” she said in a 2008 television interview.
“Oh I express my views very strongly and Rupert listens to them. Sometimes (he) takes my advice but on the whole you just have to, I think, maintain your views without insisting that somebody else accepts them.”
Her 77 direct descendants include 50 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren.
Dame Elisabeth once said she hoped to live to at least 105, describing it as a “fair run”.
“I might even be able to live a bit longer. I hope so. In fact I’d like to live forever,” she said.