Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, one of Australia's leading philanthropists and the mother of News Corp. chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch, has died. She was 103.

She died at her home near Melbourne, according to a statement from News Corp. No cause was given. She had suffered a fall there in September, The Wall Street Journal, which is owned by News Corp., reported.

"We have lost the most wonderful mother but we are all grateful to have had her love and wisdom for so many years," Rupert Murdoch said in a statement on behalf of the extended family. "Throughout her life, our mother demonstrated the very best qualities of true public service."

Murdoch devoted her life to numerous causes, including Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital and the National Gallery of Victoria. She supported more than 110 charities well past the age of 90.

"My life's been so full," she was quoted as saying in Neil Chenoweth's 2001 book about her son, "Virtual Murdoch." "I think that's been fortunate, but that's something to do with one's nature. I don't waste time."

Elisabeth Joy Greene was born on Feb. 8, 1909, in Melbourne. She grew up in an affluent Anglo-Irish family with ties to the British Empire's wool trade.

At a dinner dance as an 18-year-old debutante, she met war correspondent Keith Murdoch, 42, the editor of Melbourne's influential newspaper The Herald.

Defying social convention, she married the older man a year later. "My marriage really did open up so many other opportunities," she said in the 1994 biography, "Elisabeth Murdoch: Two Lives," by John Monks.

As a wedding gift, Keith Murdoch bought her Cruden Farm, a 90-acre estate near Melbourne, where Elisabeth resided. At Cruden and the family's city mansion, she entertained her husband's business partners, prime ministers, artists, musicians and international visitors.

She also accompanied him on trips to the United States and Europe, meeting Sir Winston Churchill and Pope Pius XII.

Elisabeth Murdoch had a strong sense of moral values, manners, obligation and duty, according to Monks. She taught her four children not to take anything for granted.

She and Keith had four children: Rupert, Anne Kantor, Janet Calvert-Jones and Helen Handbury, who died in 2004, according to News Corp.

She is survived by 77 direct descendants including 50 great-grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren.

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