Beloved actor and Elder Uncle Jack Charles has passed away at the age of 79.

The Boon Wurrung, Dja Dja Wurrung, Woiwurrung and Yorta Yorta man passed away peacefully surrounded by family and loved ones and was sent off on Country with a smoking ceremony, his family has said in a statement.

Uncle Jack began his renowned acting career more than half a century ago and has appeared in a number of iconic roles beginning with the Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith in 1978.

He was the recipient of many awards including most recently NAIDOC’s Male Elder of the Year.

Artistic director at the Ilbijerri Theatre Company, Rachael Maza, said she was left heartbroken by the revered elder’s passing.