THE former lead singer of classic Australian rock group the Divinyls, Chrissy Amphlett, succumbed to cancer at 53 on Monday.

Amphlett was born in Geelong, rising to prominence in the Sydney music scene in the 1980s with the band behind the 1991 hit, I Touch Myself.

In the band's peak period, Amphlett was behind many of the lyrics on six albums the Divinyls released between 1982 and 1996.

The band reformed briefly in 2006 before Amphlett announced in 2007 that she had multiple sclerosis. She then got cancer in 2010.

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.

Chrissy's husband Charley Drayton released a short statement on Monday, saying: "Our beloved Chrissy peacefully passed this afternoon.

"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 Amphlett ("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 be utilsed to remind all women to perform annual breast examinations.

"Chrissy was a true pioneer and a treasure to all whose lives her music and spirit touched.''

What Chrissy wrote on Facebook last month

Unfortunately the last 18 months have been a real challenge for me having breast cancer and MS and all the new places that will take you.

You become sadly a patient in a world of waiting rooms,waiting sometimes hours for a result or an appointment and you spend a lot time in cold machines like MRI,CT machines,hospital beds,on your knees praying for miracles, operating rooms, tests after tests,looking at healthy people skip down the street like you once did and you took it all for granted and now wish you could do that.

I have not stopped singing throughout all this in my dreams and to be once again performing and doing what I love to do.

I have been writing the occasional song with a wonderful collaborator Kraig Jarret and two weeks ago we performed some of those songs in NYC in the West Village.

My illnesses have really exhausted this little body of mine that I have thrown from one end of a stage to another and performed thousands of shows thats sadly some of you missed.

With that said I am getting stronger but there is still some fine tuning and work to be done on myself.It's a different self but my voice is strong and not affected by the MS as some reviewers have cruelly reported.

I can walk altho sometimes I wobble but try to wobble with the beat.

I look after myself and my husband has been through this with me every part of the way and I cannot imagine what I would have done without him and his kindness.

I did something right.

My lttle dog Holiday lays on the end of the bed when I am not feeling great and doesn't leave my side.

I don't reach out to people and talk about what I go through as we are all going through something and for someone who once was fancy free I have all of this in my life "So I Know".

I am grateful to have the knowledge that all of this has shown me and I feel privledged that I am strong enough to "know" and share that it's really alright.

I will sing again,I will perform again but this time "I know" I hope you understand what I mean and if you don't you will one day and be grateful.

Yes Lawrence What A Life and this is Life.

We must never be afraid.

R.I.P Christine Amphlett

(25 October 1959 - 21 April 2013)

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