6 Dec 2012

Rupert Murdoch's mother dies at 103

8:11 am on 6 December 2012

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, philanthropist and mother of media magnate Rupert Murdoch, has died in her Melbourne home.

A patron of the arts, she had celebrated her 103rd birthday in February this year with grandson Lachlan Murdoch at a concert in her honour at the Melbourne Recital Centre.

She was a Companion of the Order of Australia, a former president of the Royal Childrens Hospital, and in 1963 was appointed a Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by the Queen.

Dame Elisabeth had supported an estimated 100 charities annually, AAP reports.

Her son, News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch, said his mother would be mourned by thousands of Australians who had been touched by her generosity and decades of kindness.

Dame Elisabeth had survived a bad fall less than three months ago in which she broke her leg and went to hospital.

She died peacefully on Wednesday night at Cruden Farm, her Langwarrin garden estate set on more than 54 hectares in Melbourne's outer southeast.

Dame Elisabeth was the wife of newspaper publisher Sir Keith Murdoch and mother to four children; Rupert Murdoch, Helen Handbury who died in 2004, Anne Kantor and Janet Calvert-Jones.

Dame Elisabeth has 77 direct descendants, including 50 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren.