Poly Styrene, the vocalist for British punk outfit X-Ray Spex, died last night at the age of 53.
Real name Marianne Elliot Said, the singer had been diagnosed with breast cancer, but the diagnosis came after the disease had already spread to her spine and lungs. News of her passing was confirmed on her Twitter account with the message:
We can confirm that the beautiful Poly Styrene, who has been a true fighter, won her battle on Monday evening to go to higher places.
Music site Pitchfork briefly summed up the early part of Poly Styrene’s punk career:
Styrene, who was born Marianne Elliot-Said, formed X-Ray Spex shortly after watching the Sex Pistols perform at England’s Hastings Pier on her 18th birthday, according to the BBC. The band released one album, 1978’s seminal Germ Free Adolescents, which contained what many consider to be the band’s signature tune, “Oh Bondage Up Yours!”.
NPR just reviewed Poly Styrene’s newest album Generation Indigo, out April 26th.