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Chrissy Amphlett dies: Singer of Divinyls, 'I Touch Myself,' was 53

04/22/2013 by Corinne Heller

Chrissy Amphlett, singer of the Australian rock and pop band Divinyls, known best for the 1991 risque hit "I Touch Myself," has died at age 53 after battling breast cancer and multiple sclerosis.

Her cousin and pop star Patricia Amphlett, known as Little Pattie, issued a family statement on her Facebook page after her passing. Chrissy died in her home in New York on Sunday, April 21. Little Pattie said the following:

    "Our beloved Chrissy peacefully made her transition this morning. 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."

    "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. Best remembered as the lead singer of the ARIA Hall of Fame inductees the Divinyls, last month she was named one of Australia's top ten singers of all time."

    "Chrissy expressed hope that her worldwide hit I Touch Myself would remind women to perform annual breast examinations. Chrissy was a true pioneer and a treasure to all whose lives her music and spirit touched. Rest in peace our beautiful Chrissy."

Russell Crowe pays tribute

Chrissy left behind no children. She revealed in 2007 that she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998. She first battled breast cancer in 2010. Her MS prohibited her from undergoing certain treatments, such as radiation.

In addition to her music career, Chrissy also worked as an actress. She starred in her first and only film, "Monkey Grip," in 1982 and acted in stage musicals in her native Australia. She played the mother of Russell Crowe's character in "Blood Brothers" in 1988 and also played Judy Garland in "The Boy From Oz."

"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," Crowe said on Twitter.

"I Touch Myself," a track on the 1991 self-titled fourth studio album "Divinyls," hit No. 1 in Chrissy's native Australia and made the top 10 on several charts in the United States. The band's other singles did not do as well there.

"I Touch Myself" was considered risqué for its time due to its sexually suggestive lyrics and music video, which features her and models making provocative poses. The song remains a popular part of 1990s nostalgia. Six years after its release, it was featured in the film "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" and the cult TV show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

"I moped over you for months. Sitting in my room listening to that Divinyls song 'I Touch Myself,'" Buffy said to her crush in a 1997 episode. "Of course, I had no idea what it was about."

Watch the music video for "I Touch Myself" by Divinyls and a commercial for an Australian production of the 1998 musical "Blood Brothers," starring Chrissy Amphlett and Russell Crowe.

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