Chrissy Amphlett, the lead singer of Australian band The Divinyls, best known for their 1991 song “I Touch Myself,” passed away on April 21 after a battle with breast cancer and multiple sclerosis. She was 53 years old.
In a statement released by Charley Drayton, Amphlett’s husband of 14 years who played drums for The Divinyls and produced Fiona Apple’s most recent album, he wrote the singer passed away “gently, in her sleep, surrounded by close friends and family” at the couple’s home in New York. Amphlett was diagnosed with M.S. in 2007 and had been battling breast cancer since 2010.
“Chrissy’s light burns so very brightly,” Drayton wrote. “Hers was a life of passion and creativity; she always lived it to the fullest.”
Adding, “With her force of character and vocal strength she paved the way for strong, sexy, outspoken women.”
Known for gracing the stage in a schoolgirl uniform and fishnet stockings, Amphlett was a powerful stage presence. The frontwoman along with bandmate, guitarist Mark McEntee, started the band in the ’80s and released five studio albums, earning several hits in their home country including “Sleeping Beauty” and “Pleasure and Pain.” In 2006 the band earned a spot in the ARIA Hall of Fame, Australia’s version of the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.
Of course, “I Touch Myself” would become their biggest international success even though the ode to self-pleasure did stir up some controversy. Radio stations even chose to leave it off their playlist due to its risky chorus. In the end though, the song reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In his statement, Drayton wrote that Amphlett hoped the song would serve as a helpful reminder to all women that they should get a yearly breast exam.