Mother of News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch dies at 103

NEW YORK Wed Dec 5, 2012 12:26pm EST

News Corp. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch and his mother, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, attend the opening of a new newspaper office building in Adelaide, Australia in this November 16, 2005 file photo. REUTERS/Stringer

News Corp. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch and his mother, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, attend the opening of a new newspaper office building in Adelaide, Australia in this November 16, 2005 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, mother of News Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch, died Wednesday night in her Melbourne home. She was 103.

Murdoch, the matriarch of one of Australia's most prominent media families, was best known as a philanthropist, serving on and forming numerous institutes that promoted medical research, the arts and social welfare.

Her philanthropic work earned her civil honors in both her native Australia and Britain.

Murdoch, who would have been 104 in January, is survived by 77 direct descendants, including three children Anne Kantor, Janet Calvert-Jones and Rupert. Her fourth and eldest child, Helen Handbury, died in 2004.

"Throughout her life, our mother demonstrated the very best qualities of true public service," Rupert said in a statement issued by News Limited. "Her energy and personal commitment made our country a more hopeful place and she will be missed by many."

Murdoch, 82, remained close to his mother despite leading a global media empire that required him to split his time between Australia, Asia, Britain, New York, and Los Angeles, among other places.

Elisabeth Murdoch married Rupert's father, Keith, in 1928. Rupert took over News Corp and began his corporate march across the globe after his father's death in 1952.

(Reporting By Adam Kerlin; editing by Andrew Hay)

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