Olivia Newton-John dies aged 73

Singer, actor and humanitarian Olivia Newton-John has died aged 73.

She battled breast cancer for more than 30 years, raising awareness about the disease, while also raising millions of dollars for research and treatment of others.

Olivia died “peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends,” according to an Instagram post shared by her family.

“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.”

The post continued asking people to consider donating to the foundation she created.

“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 @onjfoundation.”

Olivia Newton-John 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.

Olivia-Newton-John had a decade spanning career

The British-born, Australian raised-singer, first came to prominence in the 1970’s as a country singer. She later crossed over to have success in the pop charts becoming one of the most successful artists on the global stage,

Her starring role in the 1978 musical Grease propelled her career to new heights. Co-star John Travolta today paid tribute to Newton-John saying she had made everyone’s lives better.

“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 moment I saw you and forever! Your Danny, your John!”  Travolta posted to social media.

Travolta’s wife, actor Kelly Preston, lost her own battle with breast cancer in 2020.

In a career that spanned that six decades Newton-John scored dozens of hits including Physical, Hopelessly Devoted to You, Xanadu, Magic, You’re the One That I Want, Heart Attack, Twist of Fate, Soul Kiss, The Rumour, I Honestly Love You and many more.

In 1965 she won a singing competition on Australian television, the prize was a trip to Britain. She released her first single on London’s Decca Records in 1965. Her debut single Till You Say You’ll Be Mine was not a hit.

When life-long friend Pat Carroll, joined her London the pair established themselves as a cabaret act. When Carroll’s visa expired and she had to return to Australia Newton-John remained in the United Kingdom.

She found success in 1971 when she recorded the Bob Dylan song If Not For You. Follow up single The Banks of the Ohio was also well received.

Olivia Newton-John’s second album was not released in the USA. The album saw her deliver covers of George Harrison’s What is Life and John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads but it did not make an impact on the charts when first released. Her song Let Me Be There however was a breakout hit, leading to it be included on her third record which did get a US release.

Soon Newton-John was topping the country charts in the USA and recording later albums in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1974 she scored one of her most enduring hits with the Peter Allen penned, I Honestly Love You. Over the next two years the singer has seven consecutive number 1 singles.

Encouraged by fellow Australian Helen Reddy, Newton-John relocated to the USA where she became one of the biggest entertainers of the 1970s and 1980s.

Her role in Grease brought her another string of hits, but also an image change. Just like her character in the film transforms into a leather-clad vamp, Newton-John’s 1978 album Totally Hot saw her take on a new look and sound and the hits continued with A Little More Love and Deeper Than The Night.

Her follow up film, 1980’s Xanadu was a commercial failure. The movie’s soundtrack though was a huge success bringing more hits with Magic, Suddenly a duet with Cliff Richard, and the title track which was recorded with E.L.O.

Olivia Newton-John under went another transformation when she released in Physical. The song was considered risqué for it’s time, and to downplay the tune’s sexual lyrics a comedic video was created. The song spent 10 weeks at the top of the Billboard charts.  

Over her career Newton-John released over 25 albums, appeared in several films and toured the world for decades.

Read OUTinPerth’s 2012 interview with Olivia Newton-John.

OIP Staff

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