Crowe leads tributes to Aussie rock legend Amphlett

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Hollywood star Russell Crowe led tributes Tuesday to Australia's "Queen of Rock" Chrissy Amphlett who died in New York after a long battle with cancer.

"Dear Chrissie, The last time I saw you was in the (Sydney) Botanic Gardens, loving life and reciting verse. That's how I'll remember you, your boy, R," Crowe tweeted.

The charismatic Amphlett, the lead singer of The Divinyls and Australian rock's original wild woman, passed away aged 53 on Monday, her husband Charley Drayton announced.

"Christine Joy Amphlett succumbed to the effects of breast cancer and multiple sclerosis, diseases she vigorously fought with exceptional bravery and dignity," he said in a statement.

"She passed gently, in her sleep, surrounded by close friends and family."

Amphlett, who dressed on stage in a school uniform and fishnet stockings, shot to fame in the early 1980s with The Divinyls, the band she founded with her one-time boyfriend Mark McEntee and Air Supply's Jeremy Paul.

They released six albums between 1982 and 1996, peaking in 1991 with the success of the single "I Touch Myself", which reached No.1 in Australia, No.10 in Britain and No.4 in the United States.

The band reunited in 2006 when they were inducted into Australian music's Hall Of Fame and toured the following year.

Australian rocker Jimmy Barnes tweeted: "RIP my dear friend Chrissie, love you and will miss you." Former Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett said: "Farewell to the finest of singers, great performer, a true star."

The Sydney Morning Herald's music critic Bernard Zuel praised Amphlett for breaking down barriers.

"If the Australian music industry is not exactly female-friendly today, when Chrissy Amphlett began it was quite deliberately hostile and patronising," he said.

"That was certainly the case if you didn't play the compliant girl, the playfully sexy tease or the coolly distant older sister type.

"Amphlett was none of those: on stage and on record she was volatile, aggressively sexual and never the victim.

"It's why young women were thrilled by her and even many men eventually found that strength impressive."

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