Divinyls singer Chrissy Amphlett dies of breast cancer, MS

The charismatic lead singer of Australian new wave band The Divinyls, Chrissy Amphlett, has died in her New York home of cancer and multiple sclerosis. She was 53. Above, "I Touch Myself," the autoerotic anthem of '80s teen females that became the Divinyls' greatest hit.

Last month, on her Facebook page, she wrote about the experience of being a breast cancer patient since 2010:

"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. You spend a lot time in cold 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 know how that feels.

More: Divinyls singer Chrissy Amphlett dies. (ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, thanks Eliot)

More at Rolling Stone, and Reuters.

Once again, every single obit I just linked to there uses the trite phrase "battling cancer," "fighting cancer," or "lost her battle with cancer." Once again, I will take the opportunity to remind the world that cancer is a biological process involving cells that refuse to do what they're supposed to do inside our bodies, not a "fight" that the weaker souls among us "lose." Please stop using that phrase.


  1. Sad news. Gowing up in Australia in the eighties, I saw Chrissy (and Mark) many times in concert. She was just awesome. All class.

  2. Sad. I hate cancer. I’m a breast cancer survivor. I hate the terms of battle etc as well. Cancer sucks.

  3. Damn, now I’m bummed.  I was in high school when that song came out, and although most people thought they were just a one-hit-wonder/joke, I thought they made some really good albums.

  4. We’ve lost another foot soldier in our war with Entropy. Sad news.

    Great band name; evocative, like “The Velveteens”.

  5. Xeni:

    Of course you are right. The phrase is not only inaccurate but also tired and overused. However, rather than simply requesting a ban on it’s usage, why not step up as a journalist with unique insights and offer up a better turn of phrase? I mean, who better than someone as deeply involved as yourself to find that key descriptive phrase?

    This is not a criticism but rather an opportunity to stretch your journalistic muscles.

  6. Well damn. She was a big part of my musical landscape back when, and when you discounted the silly costumes she wore, they made some bloody good music. And 53s a bit young to go. No good.

  7. Cancer has taken too many. Rest in peace Christine.

    Sidenote: She (the band) had much more and better songs than the only one people in media speak of.

  8. I saw the Divinyls at the South Melbourne cricket ground in 1984 supporting Midnight Oil – a show that will stay in my mind forever. The lead guitar player started playing a song not on the set list (obvious from the glares from the other band members) and early in the song, Chrissie sensually slide her foot up his inside leg before stomping her pointed heel hard on his foot. Some time later after some conciliatory gestures, she put her arm around him. And then stomped on his foot again. Between the Divinyls and the Oils, just exiting their early surf band days, it was the most energy I ever saw on a stage.

    Vale Chrissie. We’ll miss you but we’re so grateful for what you gave us.

  9. *sigh*  If only she’d followed her own anthem, maybe she’d have caught it earlier and would still be here to entertain us today…

  10. To quote Danny Baker: You don’t fight cancer. You’re the battleground. Science is fighting it. You’re Normandy beach, you’re Hastings in 1066.

  11. She was epic, she pissed on the audience rather than stop the show and take a break.

    My friend Karen last night confirmed what I had understood to be an urban myth, she was at a Divinyls gig in the 80’s and Chrissy Amphlett dropped her panties halfway through a song and squirted on the punters.

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