The beautiful, elegant and talented, multiple Grammy Award winner and Golden Globe nominee, who sang and danced her way into our hearts in 1978 hit musical film Grease, Olivia Newton-John has passed away at age 73 after a lengthy battle with breast cancer.
John Easterling, Newton-John’s husband shared the news on her official Instagram page:
Newton-John’s daughter Chloe Lattanzi also shared a carousel of photos on her Instagram of the mother-daughter duo, without a caption.
Dame Olivia Newton-John was born September 26, 1948 in Cambridge, United Kingdom, but in 1954, when she was just six years old, Newton-John’s family emigrated to Melbourne, Australia. She began performing when she was 14 years old with a group of her school-mates before winning a talent contest on a TV show called Sing, Sing, Sing in 1965.
By 1971 she had recorded her first album If Not for You with the title track, written by Bob Dylan and previously recorded by former Beatle George Harrison for his 1970 album All Things Must Pass.
While her first album was successful in the United States, her second album wasn’t even released in the country. It wasn’t until she appeared in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical Grease with John Travolta in 1978 that she became a household name after the movie became the biggest box-office hit of 1978.
The soundtrack spent 12 non-consecutive weeks at number 1 on the Billboard top 100 and yielded three top 5 singles for Newton-John including You’re the One That I Want, Hopelessly Devoted to You and Summer Nights.
Riding the success of Grease, Newton-John appeared in 1980’s musical fantasy Xanadu. Although the film was a critical failure, its soundtrack was certified double platinum and scored five top 20 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 including Magic, Suddenly with Cliff Richard, and the title song Xanadu with the Electric Light Orchestra.
After that, Newton-John released her most successful studio album, the double platinum Physical, in 1981. Newton-John re-teamed with Travolta in 1983 for another film, Two of a Kind, which wasn’t as well received as Grease, however the soundtrack was immensely popular with hits such as Twist of Fate, Livin’ in Desperate Times, and a duet with Travolta, Take a Chance.
In 1992, just after releasing the album Warm and Tender, Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer, forcing her to cancel all publicity for the album, including the tour. At the time, she fought the disease and recovered. Over the years she was an advocate for several cancer organizations, but by 2008, she raised funds to help build the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne, Australia.
In November 2012, Newton-John teamed with Travolta to make the charity album This Christmas, in support of The Olivia Newton-John Cancer & Wellness Centre and the Jett Travolta Foundation.
Unfortunately, in May 2017, it was announced that Newton-John’s breast cancer had returned and metastasized to her lower back. Her back pains had initially been misdiagnosed as sciatica. Newton-John subsequently revealed this was actually her third bout with breast cancer, as she had privately battled a recurrence of the disease in 2013 in addition to her initial 1992 fight. With the 2017 recurrence, cancer had spread to her bones and progressed to stage IV which ultimately caused her death.
John Travolta wrote his tribute to her on his official Instagram and said,
“My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better. Your impact was incredible. I love you so much. We will see you down the road and we will all be together again. Yours from the first moment I saw you and forever!
Your Danny, your John!”
Many others took to social media to pay their respects:
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.
Needless to say, but the entire world, including the Reel 360 News Team, is hopelessly devoted to Olivia Newton-John.
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