Stella Young, the Australian disability activist, writer and comedian, who received international acclaim after her TED talk entitled “I’m not your inspiration, thank you very much” has died. She was 32.
“With great sadness we acknowledge the passing of Stella Young, our much loved and irreplaceable daughter and sister. Stella passed away on Saturday evening, unexpectedly, but in no pain,” her family said in a public statement.
Young was the former editor of ABC’s Ramp Up website, which published debate about disability in Australia. Mark Scott, ABC managing director, said in a statement that Young was “an unforgettable communicator and a passionate advocate.”
“As a writer and broadcaster Stella was sharp and incisive, challenging and provocative. She was very warm and generous, the first to laugh and to make us all laugh. She took great delight in challenging conventional wisdom and lazy thinking,” Scott says.
Young was born in Western Victoria, Australia, with the genetic disorder osteogenesis imperfecta. In addition to being a busy disability advocate, she was a two-time finalist in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Raw Comedy competition. She also hosted eight seasons of Australia’s first disability culture program, No Limits
The issues facing women and young people with disabilities were important to Young and she worked with the Youth Disability Advocacy Service to establish the LiveAccess project, which advocated for increased access to music venues. She received a journalism degree from Deakin University and an education degree from the University of Melbourne.