Chrissy Amphlett, the raunchy lead singer of the Australian rock band Divinyls whose hit “I Touch Myself” brought her international fame in the early 1990s, died at her home in New York City on Sunday. She was 53 years old.
“Christine Joy Amphlett succumbed to the effects of breast cancer and multiple sclerosis, diseases she vigorously fought with exceptional bravery and dignity,” her musician husband Charley Drayton said in a statement.
“Chrissy’s light burns so very brightly. Hers was a life of passion and creativity. She always lived it to the fullest. With her force of character and vocal strength, she paved the way for strong, sexy, outspoken women,” he said.
Amphlett was an icon of Australian music renowned for her distinctive singing voice as well as edgy stage performances clad in school uniforms and fishnet stockings.
She was born on Oct. 25, 1959, in Geelong city in Victoria state, cousin of 1960s Australian pop star Patricia Amphlett, known as “Little Pattie,” who was at her New York bedside on Sunday.
Amphlett met musician Mark McEntee at a concert at the Sydney Opera House in 1980 and the pair formed the Divinyls.
The band released six albums between 1982 and 1996, peaking in 1991 with the success of the single “I Touch Myself,” which reached No. 1 in Australia, No. 4 in the United States and No. 10 in Britain.
The band reformed briefly in 2006. Amphlett announced in 2007 that she had multiple sclerosis and in 2010 that she had cancer.
Amphlett was also an actress who made her movie debut in the 1982 Australian film “Monkey Grip,” which featured several Divinyls tracks.
She later played Russell Crowe’s mother in the Australian stage production of the musical “Blood Brothers.”
Crowe sent a Twitter message after Amphlett’s death.
“Dear Chrissie, The last time I saw you was in the Botanic Gardens, loving life and reciting verse. That’s how I’ll remember you, your boy, R,” it said.