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First Woman To Scale Mt Everest Junko Tabei Dies Aged 77

Iconic mountaineer Junko Tabei has passed away in Japan.

23/10/2016 9:43 AM AEDT | Updated 23/10/2016 10:59 AM AEDT
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Junko Tabei has passed away from cancer in Japan.

The first woman to make it to the summit of Mount Everest, Japanese climber Junko Tabei, has died aged 77.

Tabei passed away at a hospital outside of Tokyo, losing her long-running battle with cancer, the ABC reports.

The famous mountaineer scaled the world's highest peak in 1975 when she was just 35, battling her way to the top of the 8,850-metre mountain in Nepal.

She was also the first woman to achieve the daunting Seven Summits, conquering the highest peaks on 7 continents in 1992.

She started mountain climbing in 1939 with her primary school and her last ascent was in July when she made it to the top of Japan's Mount Fuji. That effort was with school kids impacted by the devastating 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

Tabei was as successful as she was prolific and by 2008 the Fukushima prefecture resident had climbed the highest peaks in a staggering 56 countries.

She told the Japan Times in 2012 that she was proud of all she had achieved in the sport.

"Back in 1970s Japan, it was still widely considered that men were the ones to work outside and women would stay at home," she's quoted as saying.

"Even women who had jobs - they were asked just to serve tea. So it was unthinkable for them to be promoted in their workplaces."

Across her career she was also a big campaigner for sustainable mountaineering and chaired the Himalayan Adventure Trust of Japan that works to preserve mountain environments.

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