Australian pop icon Olivia Newton-John has died. The singer and actress, who starred in films such as Grease and Xanadu, was 73.
Her husband, John Easterling, announced her death in a post on his official social media accounts this morning.
Newton-John passed away peacefully at her ranch in Southern California, surrounded by family and friends, Easterling said.
“Olivia has been a beacon of triumphs and hope for over 30 years, sharing her journey with breast cancer,” he wrote in the post.
* Chloe Lattanzi, daughter of Olivia Newton-John, says she watched her mother battle cancer
* Olivia Newton-John says locally grown medicinal cannabis improves her quality of life
* Olivia Newton-John battles cancer for third time
Newton-John was born in 1948 in Cambridge, UK, but when she was six her family emigrated to Melbourne and as a teenager became a rising pop star.
After gaining worldwide fame, it was considered one of Australia’s greatest cultural assets.
Newton-John was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992. In a 2018 Australian interview, she confirmed she had cancer for the third time.
No cause of death was given, but TMZ reported that “after a 30-year cancer journey, she lost her battle with metastatic breast cancer.”
She rose to fame in the early 70s with songs like If Not for You, Let Me Be There and Have You Never Been Mellow.
In 1978, however, Newton-John delivered a performance that would remain central to her fame for the rest of her life: she played Sandy Olsson alongside John Travolta as Danny Zuko in the film adaptation of the smash hit. Broadway. Fat.
The film, which includes iconic duets of Summer Nights and You’re the One That I Want with Travolta, remains one of the most successful films of all time, earning over a third of a billion dollars at the box- US office.
In the film, which starred Stockard Channing and Didi Conn, Newton-John played an Australian schoolgirl transplanted to Rydell High School in America.
For Newton-John and Travolta, the film laid the foundation for a lifelong friendship, with the pair reuniting intermittently on concert stages and at special events to perform the film’s signature songs.
Travolta was among the first to publicly pay tribute to Newton-John.
“My dearest Olivia, you have made our lives so much better,” Travolta wrote in a post on her Instagram account.
“Your impact has been incredible. I love you so much. We will see you on the road again and we will all be together again. Yours as soon as I saw you and forever! Your Danny, your John!”
Later, Newton-John evolved musically with more emotionally complex works, such as the albums Warm and Tender and Stronger Than Before.
She also focused on healing and wellness, following a highly publicized battle with cancer, starting the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund.
In the statement posted to their official Facebook account, Newton-John’s family asked that donations be made in her memory to the fund.
Newton-John received an OBE in 1979, and in 2019 was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, although the title Dame Olivia has not fallen into everyday use.
She was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association Hall of Fame in 2002; in 2019 she was made a Companion of the Order of Australia.
Newton-John married twice; first to actor Matt Lattanzi in 1984, whom she had met on the set of the film Xanadu. The couple had a daughter, Chloe, in 1986 and divorced amicably in 1995.
In 2008, Newton-John married businessman John Easterling in an Incan spiritual ceremony. The couple bought a house on Jupiter Island, Florida, but never moved there. Later, they purchased a horse ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley outside of Santa Barbara.
Newton-John is survived by Easterling, his daughter Chloe Lattanzi, his sister Sarah Newton-John and his brother Toby Newton-John.
Lattanzi, 36, posted a series of photos with her mother on Instagram today, moments after the news broke.
On Aug. 6, three days before Newton-John’s death, Lattanzi shared a photo of the couple and wrote, “Love this woman. My mom. My best friend.”
She is also survived by her nieces and nephews Tottie, Fiona and Brett Goldsmith; Emerson, Charlie, Zac, Jeremy, Randall and Pierz Newton-John; Jude Newton Stock, Layla Lee; Kira and Tasha Edelstein; and Brin and Valerie Hall.
– With the Sydney Morning Herald