Singer, actress, and philanthropist Olivia Newton-John died on Monday, August 8, at her Southern California home after a long battle with breast cancer.
The “Hopelessly Devoted To You” hitmaker was surrounded by her family and friends at the time of her death, according to her husband, John Easterling, in a statement released via her Facebook page.
“Dame Olivia Newton-John (73) passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends,” he said. “We ask that everyone please respect the family’s privacy during this very difficult time.”
Known as Sandy in the 1978 musical Grease, Newton-John rose to fame as a singer with her 1974 debut single, “I Honestly Love You” and bagged two Grammy Awards. She also represented the United Kingdom in Eurovision Song Contest in the same year. Her 1982 single “Physical” also became a hit as she topped the charts in the same year.
“Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer. Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continue with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer,” Easterling also said in the statement.
After her sister died of brain cancer and Newton-John’s first battle with breast cancer in 1992, the actress established the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Center in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia.
She revealed in 2013 that she had been given her second cancer diagnosis but had not spoken publicly about it and in 2017, she announced on Australian television that her cancer had spread to the base of her spine. With her health conditions deteriorating, she postponed her U.S. and Canada tour to “be back later in the year, better than ever.” Although she did not resume the tour, she was present for the Grease 40th-anniversary reunion in the same year.
Her recent appearances include the 2020 film, The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee as Olivia and the 2017 film Sharknado 5: Global Swarming as Orion. She was also present in the first season of Glee as herself. She also appeared as a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race and Dancing with the Stars.
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