Prominent philanthropist was patron of the arts

Elisabeth Murdoch, a prominent Australian philanthropist whose public profile increased with the ascent of her son, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, died Wednesday surrounded by family members in her garden estate outside Melbourne. She was 103 and had been hospitalized in September after a bad fall in which she broke her leg.

News Ltd., the Australian media company headed by her son, confirmed her death.

“We have lost the most wonderful mother but we are all grateful to have had her love and wisdom for so many years,” Rupert Murdoch said in a statement issued on behalf of the family.

Rupert, 81, has said that his mother’s long life was evidence that he would be able to continue leading News Corp. for many years.

Dame Elisabeth was a patron of the arts and contributed to an estimated 100 charities annually.

Her husband, journalist and newspaper publisher Keith Murdoch, died in 1952. A daughter died in 2004.

In addition to Rupert, survivors include daughters Anne Kantor and Janet Calvert-Jones. She has 77 direct descendants, including 50 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren.

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