Australia

Australian disability campaigner Stella Young dies

Stella Young (file image)
Image caption Stella Young had been campaigning for people with disabilities since a teenager

Tributes have been paid to Stella Young, the Australian comedian, broadcaster and prominent disability activist who has died at the age of 32.

Her family said that she died unexpectedly in Melbourne on Saturday evening, ABC reported.

Ms Young was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, a genetic disorder that caused her bones to break easily.

John Ajaka, NSW minister for disability services, said he was "shocked and saddened" to hear of her death.

"She will be truly missed, not just from the disability sector, but by thousands of people who aspired to her positive outlook on life.

"Stella had a wicked way of making us question and face up to misunderstanding and discrimination against people with a disability - to make us laugh at ourselves."

'Sharp wit'

A joint statement from opposition leader Bill Shorten and Jenny Macklin, shadow minister for families, described her as "an inspiration".

"We had the privilege of working closely with Stella during the creation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme," the statement said.

"We will always be grateful for the contribution that her sharp wit, her limitless self-belief and her boundless optimism made to empowering hundreds of thousands of Australians, freeing them from the exile of a second class life in their own country."

Stella Young began campaigning for disabled people from the age of 14. She was the former editor of ABC's disability news and opinion website, Ramp Up, and also contributed to the BBC's disability blog, Ouch!

Her family issued a statement saying that she had died "unexpectedly, but in no pain".

"With great sadness we acknowledge the passing of Stella Young, our much-loved and irreplaceable daughter and sister," it said.

"A private funeral will take place soon, followed by a public event in Melbourne, with more details to come."

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