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    Chrissy Amphlett, 53, lead singer of Divinyls

    Ms. Amplett played Judy Garland in the musical “The Boy from Oz” in Sydney in 2006.
    Patrick Riviere/Getty Images
    Ms. Amplett played Judy Garland in the musical “The Boy from Oz” in Sydney in 2006.

    SYDNEY — Chrissy Amphlett, the raunchy lead singer of the Australian rock band Divinyls whose hit ‘‘I Touch Myself’’ brought her international fame in the early 1990s, died at her home Sunday in New York City. She was 53.

    Her husband, musician Charley Drayton, said she had breast cancer and multiple sclerosis.

    Ms. Amphlett was an icon of Australian music renowned for her distinctive singing voice, as well as edgy stage performances clad in school uniforms and fishnet stockings.


    ‘‘Hers was a life of passion and creativity; she always lived it to the fullest,’’ her husband said. “With her force of character and vocal strength, she paved the way for strong, sexy, outspoken women.’’

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    She was born in Geelong city in Victoria state, cousin of 1960s Australian pop star Patricia Amphlett, known as Little Pattie.

    Ms. Amphlett met musician Mark McEntee at a concert at the Sydney Opera House in 1980, and the pair formed the Divinyls.

    The band released six albums between 1982 and 1996, peaking in 1991 with the success of the single ‘‘I Touch Myself,’’ which reached number one in Australia and number four in the United States.

    The band re-formed briefly in 2006. Ms. Amphlett revealed in 2007 that she had multiple sclerosis and in 2010 that she had cancer.


    She made her movie debut as an actress 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.’’

    Crowe sent a Twitter message after her death.

    ‘‘Dear Chrissie, 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,’’ it said.