She passed away unexpectedly in Melbourne on Saturday evening.
Born with osteogenesis imperfecta, a genetic disorder that causes bones to break easily, she was the former editor of the ABC’s Ramp Up website, a two-time state finalist in Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Raw Comedy competition, host of eight seasons of Australia’s first disability culture program No Limits on Channel 31, contributor to ABC’s The Drum, Mamamia and The Punch and a guest on Q & A.
Tributes have poured in for her, as a prominent campaigner for the disabled community.
“As a writer and broadcaster Stella was sharp and incisive, challenging and provocative,” ABC’s Mark Scott said in a statement.
“She was very warm and generous, the first to laugh and to make us all laugh.
“Stella helped us understand disability issues by sharing with a raw honesty about her own life and forcing us to reconsider how we think about disability and create an environment where those with disability can best get on with their own lives.”
“She has battled discrimination because of her disability. But she was a much larger than life figure and she’s going to be sorely missed,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said.
“Stella Young was a shining light for care and action on disabilities,” Julia Gillard tweeted.
“We mourn her passing and rededicate ourselves to her spirit.”
Josh Thomas tweeted: “Stella Young is so terrific. A hilarious, rare and super cool lady. Heart breaking news.”
Australian Paralympic Committee Chief Executive Jason Hellwig said “Stella was never afraid to tell it like it is, to challenge people’s perceptions and to fight for what she believed in.
“The insight Stella was able to provide was a great asset to the ABC’s coverage because of her ability to look critically at the wider impact of the Paralympic Games.”
A private funeral will take place soon, followed by a public event in Melbourne.