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‘Grease’ Icon Olivia Newton-John Dead at 73

The Grammy winner and Eurovision alum died after a battle with breast cancer, as her husband confirmed, on August 8.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 08:  Olivia Newton John attends the Olivia Newton-John Gala Red Carpet at Crown Palladium on September 8, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Sam Tabone/WireImage)

Olivia Newton-John

WireImage

Olivia Newton-John died on August 8 at age 73 after a battle with breast cancer.

The British born Australian star shot to fame in “Grease” opposite John Travolta in 1978. A four-time Grammy winner, Newton-John won Record of the Year for “I Honestly Love You” and “Physical,” as well as “Grease” song “You’re the One That I Want,” which still ranks as one of the bestselling singles of all time.

Newton-John’s husband John Easterling confirmed her passing on Facebook.

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

Easterling continued, “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 continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made in her memory to the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund (ONJFoundationFund.org).”

Olivia is survived by her husband John Easterling; daughter Chloe Lattanzi; sister Sarah Newton-John; brother Toby Newton-John; 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.

Newton-John was born September 26, 1948 in Cambridge, United Kingdom, immigrating to Melbourne, Australia at age six. By 14, Newton-John formed her first girl group and later debuted her premiere solo album “If Not for You” in 1971. By 1974, she represented the United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest with the track “Long Live Love”; she finished fourth behind ABBA’s “Waterloo.”

Despite concerns that she was too old at age 29 to convincingly play a 1950s high schooler in “Grease,” Newton-John’s breakout performance alongside Travolta came out the same year as her double-platinum 1978 album “Totally Hot.” She returned to the screen for “Xanadu” with Gene Kelly. In 1983, Newton-John starred opposite Travolta again for romantic comedy “Two of a Kind.”

Newton-John also appeared in film “Sordid Lives” and its cable TV spin-off series. She additionally played herself in “Glee,” remaking “Physical” with the cast in 2010. By 2017, Newton-John returned for a U.S. concert tour.

Outside of Hollywood, Newton-John was a spokesperson for cancer research and established the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre in Victoria, Australia after being diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoing a mastectomy.

 

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