The British singer gained fame as an entertainer during World War II, when she would sing for troops.
British singer Dame Vera Lynn died Thursday morning surrounded by her close family, CNN reports. A cause of death is yet to be announced. She lived to the age of 103. A statement from the Dame Vera Lynn Children's Charity reflected on Lynn's incredible life and journey, highlighting the contributions she made during her time. Her ballads provided the soundtrack for the Allied war effort during World War II. Several individuals have since come forward with messages of condolence and grief, including Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson and veteran turned philanthropist Captain Tom Moore.
"My mother first became involved in raising awareness of cerebral palsy in the 50s when there was very little understanding of the condition and children who suffered from motor learning difficulties were often referred to rather pejoratively as 'spastic,'" her daughter Virginia Lewis-Jones recollected in the statement. "Along with celebrity chums including David Jacobs and Wilfred Pickles, she set out to change people's attitudes towards the disability and help children reach their full potential. There was no one else raising funds to help at that time, so it was groundbreaking work."
The daughter also highlighted just how special the Dame Vera Lynn Children's Charity was to the late singer. She stated, "Although my mother was closely associated with other charities, not least those supporting veterans, the Dame Vera Lynn Children's Charity always held a very special place in her heart -- the children loved her as much as she loved them and I'm extremely proud of what it has achieved and the difference it has made to so many families' lives." While her family was "deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of Britain's best-loved entertainers," dozens of individuals paid tribute to her life and legacy in their own ways.
"Dame Vera Lynn's charm and magical voice entranced and uplifted our country in some of our darkest hours," Prime Minister Johnson wrote in a tweet. "Her voice will live on to lift the hearts of generations to come." Captain Moore, meanwhile, said the entertainer's passing was "a real shame." Moore had fought in Myanmar, then named Burma, where Lynn visited to perform for the troops. He shared, "I really thought Vera Lynn would live longer she's been speaking so well on TV recently. She had a huge impact on me in Burma and remained important to me throughout my life."
Lynn, born in 1917 as Vera Margaret Welch, belonged to a working-class family and began her career in music at the young age of seven when she started singing in working men's clubs. Seven years later, she was booked by an agent who spotted her. He arranged work for her at parties and events. Soon enough, she began performing on the radio an even released her first solo recording 'Up the Wooden Hill to Bedfordshire' in 1936. Over the years, her fame and popularity grew, until she became known as the British forces' sweetheart. Queen Elizabeth even quoted Lynn's famous wartime song during an address to the nation on April 5. She said the UK should take comfort in the fact "better days will return, we will be with our friends again, we will be with our families again, we will meet again." Now, the Dame will live on in her music.