Chrissy Amphlett, iconic lead singer of Australian rock band Divinyls, has died aged 53. Seven News is reporting that Amphlett passed away last night in New York, where she had been living with her husband, multi-instrumentalist and Divinyls drummer, Charlie Drayton.
No official cause of death has been given but Amphlett had been suffering from multiple sclerosis for a number of years, and revealed she had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010.
In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald at the time of her diagnosis, Amphlett said the disease had “knocked her for six” yet she was a “keep-on-going sort of girl”, revealing that complications relating to her MS made treatment for cancer difficult:
“With my MS it makes my treatment a little more…difficult… I can’t have radiation and things like that. But I have the best people here. And right now, the MS isn’t even bothering me – it’s the least of my problems. But I’m strong and I will get over this.
“It’s shit and it’s unfair, but life is not fair – even rock stars get breast cancer. But there’ve been many girls before me who have dealt with it successfully. It’s easy to feel sorry for me but I feel sorry for people who are suffering it alone.”
Amphlett was renowned as the charismatic lead singer of Divinyls, creating an icon of the Australian music scene with her revealing onstage schoolgirl outfits and raucous antics. She contributed daring and often overtly sexual lyrics to Divinyls songs, with massive hits from the band’s 1990 self-titled album such as I Touch Myself and I’m Jealous ensuring the band became mainstayers on Australian rock radio.
Fame (and infamy) for the band extended abroad, with I Touch Myself hitting the top 10 in the UK and US, despite its difficulty getting airplay due to its explicit content.
After breaking up in 1997 following poor record sales and a falling out between Amphlett and guitarist Marc McEntee, Divinyls were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2006, reforming with Drayton on drums for their first performance in 10 years.
More details as they come to hand. Music Feeds sends our condolences to Amphlett’s family, friends and Divinyls fans everywhere.
Chrissy Amphlett’s cousin, Patricia ‘Little Pattie’ Thompson and family have released the following statement:
“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, including husband of fourteen years, musician Charley Drayton, her sister, Leigh, nephew, Matt, and cousin Patricia Thompson (“Little Pattie”).
“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 inductee, 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.”
Former Divinyls manager, Andrew McManus, who went to New York where Amphlett lived with husband Charley Drayton to pay his last respects, has also spoken to the media:
“I spoke to Chrissy for a good half hour. She was in incredible pain and some of the things she said to me I’ll never forget…
“I’ll never repeat what she said, but it was incredibly sad… She performed every show, semi-crippled with MS, but as soon as she hit the stage, she completely forgot about it. Then, she’d come off stage and just collapse.”
Back in 2012 Amphlett posted a very candid and emotional comment on her Facebook page in regards to her struggle with cancer and MS that offers a very personal insight into the harrowing experience.