Actress/singer Olivia Newton-John, who fought a decades-long battle with breast cancer, died Monday at her Southern California ranch at age 73.
Her husband, John Easterling, broke the news on Newton-John’s Facebook page.
“Dame Olivia Newton-John passed away peacefully at her ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends,” he wrote. “We ask that everyone please respect the family’s privacy during this very difficult time.
“Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer,” he wrote. “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.”
Born in the United Kingdom but raised in Australia, Newton-John had a string of hits in the 1970s, including “If You Love Me, Let Me Know,” “Let Me Be There” and “Have You Never Been Mellow.” But she rocketed to stardom with her role as Sandy in the hit 1978 musical film “Grease,” playing opposite John Travolta. The film gave rise to hit songs including “Summer Nights,” “Hopelessly Devoted to You” and “You’re the One That I Want.”
She won a record of the year Grammy for “I Honestly Love You,” and her other hits included “Physical,” “A Little More Love,” “Xanadu,” “Magic,” “Make a Move on Me,” “Twist of Fate” and “Sam.”
Newton-John, who was also an outspoken environmental activist, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, and she became a face and voice for the battle against the disease, as well as other health issues. She underwent a mastectomy and was declared cancer-free, but was diagnosed with cancer again in 2013 and in 2017.
She spoke openly of her cancer fight, and founded the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre in Australia.
On his Instagram page Monday, Travolta mourned her death, writing, “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!”
Newton-John is survived by her husband 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.