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Chrissy Amphlett, Divinyls Singer, Dead at 53

Chrissy Amphlett Martin Philbey/Redferns

Chrissy Amphlett, lead singer of Australian rock band Divinyls, who shot to fame with their bawdy hit "I Touch Myself," has died. She was 53.

Per the Sydney Morning Herald, Amphlett passed away in New York City Sunday after fighting long battles with breast cancer and multiple sclerosis.

"Christine Joy Amphlett succumbed to the effects of breast cancer and multiple sclerosis, diseases she vigorously fought with exceptional bravery and dignity. She passed gently, in her sleep, surrounded by close friends and family," read a statement from the family. "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."

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Amphlett, who was known for her wild performances while wearing torn fishnets and sexy schoolgirl outfits, formed Divinyls with guitarist Mark McEntee in Sydney in 1980 and the band released five studio albums.

In 1991, they had their first international success with their No. 1 Australian hit, "I Touch Myself," which shot to No. 4 on the Billboard charts in the U.S. on the strength of a sexy music video featuring the vocalist and the minor controversy over the song's subject matter.

"I Touch Myself" was later featured in the 1992 movie Prelude to a Kiss and memorably when Mike Myers used it to perform a striptease as his comical British agent in 1997's Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.

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The band broke up in 1996 following the release of their last album, Underworld. They reunited however in 2006 when they were inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association's Hall of Fame and a new tour followed.

The next year the rocker announced she had multiple sclerosis and the band once again went their separate ways. She was diagnosed with breast cancer three years later.

Aside from music, Amphlett was also an actress, appearing in an Australian stage production of the musical The Boy From Oz as well as playing Russell Crowe's mother in a stage production of the tuner Blood Brothers.

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Upon hearing the sad news, Crowe paid tribute to Amphlett on Twitter.

"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," the Oscar winner tweeted

Amphlett is survived by her husband of 14 years, musician Charley Drayton, a sister, and a nephew.

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