Miss You, Poly Styrene
Poly Styrene, best known as the frontwoman with 1970s punk group X-Ray Spex, has died. Styrene was receiving treatment for an advanced form of breast cancer when she passed away yesterday (Monday 25 April). She was 53.
News of her death spread across Twitter this morning, with fans expressing sorrow at her passing. "Hearing reports Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex has died. If so that's very sad. An absolute heroine to me as a kid," wrote mdlachlan, while PaulGardner123 wrote: "Sad news about Poly Styrene. Germ Free Adolescents and Identity are regularly played in my car."
A spokesperson for Styrene confirmed her death this morning, saying everyone around her was saddened by the news. A full statement is expected later today.
Styrene, who was born Marian Joan Elliott-Said, shot to fame in 1976 with X-Ray Spex, and was immortalised in punk history with the song Oh Bondage, Up Yours! "Little girls should be seen and not heard," Styrene would say to introduce the track. X-Ray Spex released one album, the acclaimed Germ Free Adolescents in 1978, before Styrene left the group.
Despite her relatively short stint with the band, Styrene's overt feminism and mixed-race heritage marked her out among her punk contemporaries and won her legions of fans for generations to come. Beth Ditto, singer with Gossip, said: "Poly Styrene [was] so ahead of her time. She recreated punk."
In a biography of the singer, Billboard.com said: "She sang in a raw, untutored scream that quavered and shook when she looked to extend her range, a vocal style echoed by riot grrls like Kathleen Hanna and Corin Tucker."
Styrene went on to release a solo record in 1980, Translucence, but a series of traumatic incidents stalled her career. The singer was sectioned after being misdiagnosed with schizophrenia in the 80s, and was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In 1995, she survived being hit by a fire engine.
Styrene was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year, and was told it had spread to her lungs and spine. Despite undergoing treatment, she gave numerous interviews in recent months to promote her latest solo album, Generation Indigo. In an interview with the Guardian in March, she was described as "ironically upbeat" in spite of her health.
She told the Guardian: "You remember that old song 'Que Sera Sera, Whatever will be, will be, the future's not ours to see'? I've always felt that. It's been a rollercoaster ride, but I wouldn't change a thing."