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Olivia Newton-John, Singing, Acting, Hip-Swinging Australian Icon, Has Died Age 73

Her legacy endures.

Olivia Newton-John has died age 73. 

The iconic Grease star passed away in the early hours of Tuesday morning, Australian time, with Newton-John’s husband John Easterling confirming the news in an official statement. 

“Dame Olivia Newton-John (73) passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends. We ask that everyone please respect the family’s privacy during this very difficult time,” he shared. 

Newton-John had suffered a 30 year on-and-off battle with breast cancer—in 2017, Newton-John confirmed that the cancer had returned and spread to her spine. During that time, she strongly advocated for the legalisation of medicinal marijuana

“Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer,” Easterling continued in his statement.

“Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer.” 

(Credit: Getty)

Olivia is survived by her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi, whom she shared a close relationship with.

Lattanzi took to Instagram to share a series of images of her mother during some of their most special moments over the years. The post was flooded with heartfelt condolences. 

Celebrities also took to social media to share tributes for the late icon, with Newton-John’s Grease co-star, Joh Travolta, leading them. 

“My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better. Your impact was incredible,” he began.

“I love you so much. We will see you down the road and we will all be together again. Yours from the moment I saw you and forever! Your Danny, your John!”

Actor George Takei also took to Twitter to write: “We have lost a great, iconic artist. Know that we are forever hopelessly devoted to you, Olivia. Rest in song and mirth.”

(Credit: Getty)

Newton-John was born in Cambridge, England, in 1948, but she moved to Australia with her family when she was six years old. 

It was Newton-John’s musical abilities which sparked her rise to fame. She won four Grammy awards and sold more than 100 million records over her decades-long musical career, but it wasn’t until she stepped into the role of Sandy in 1978 classic, Grease, that cemented her status as an icon. 

At the time, Newton-John was 29 years old and feared she would be too old to play the high schooler, but she was persuaded to take the part—the character was also altered so that she could also keep her Australian accent. 

The film, which co-starred John Travolta as Danny, became famous for its catchy songs, and the soundtrack spent 12 weeks on the international music charts. 

The singer was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992. She received treatment and recovered from it less than a year later, but tests in July 2017 revealed that it had returned—a metastasised cancer tumour was growing at the base of her spine.

Newton-John became a prominent advocate for breast cancer sufferers and set up the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Research Centre in Melbourne. 

In 2019, she told Australian Women’s Weekly: “I don’t take any pills, last year I did a course of photon radiation which is very targeted to the problem area.” 

“The clinic in Georgia suggested the radiation as a safety measure because, in the bone, it’s hard to get to. Since then I’ve only done natural healing—plant medicine and herbs.”

Newton-John’s daughter Chloe also spoke to Woman’s Day in 2019, sharing that she had been through a denial phase following her mum’s second diagnosis. 

“I felt like my whole world was collapsing in on me. After going through a denial phase, I was angry that such a wonderful, kind, amazing, generous woman had to go through hell again.”

Chloe continued: “But my mum has taught me the power of positive thinking and enjoying every moment. We both try to protect each other. Mum stays positive and I do my best to stay positive, too.”

Our thoughts are with her daughter, her husband and her loved ones at this difficult time. Vale, Olivia. 

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