British-Born Australian singer Olivia Newton-John dies at 73
Australians were saddened and shocked to wake up to the news that Olivia Newton-John, singer of "I Honestly Love You" and "Physical" and star of the hit movie musical "Grease," died on Monday at age 73 at her home in Southern California.
The death of the British-born, Australian-raised performer was announced on her Instagram account, saying she "passed away peacefully" at her ranch home "surrounded by family and friends".
Flowers were left at Olivia Newton-John's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Monday after it was announced the British-Born Australian singer and actress had died.
One of her most fervent fans, Christine Taylor, 49, from Los Angeles laid flowers next to the star and told Reuters, "For me, it hits hard. When your idols die, it's just like even a piece of your family too because you grew up with them."
Another fan, Kira Pettet, 55, from Los Angeles, came out in a 'Xanadu' T-shirt and a Newton-John face mask to pay tribute.
Pettet said "She meant... means and meant everything to me, everything concerning her. She just like was always in the back of my mind - it sounds obsessive but her music just took me out of a lot of dark times."
Others, like Bonnie Alexander, 70, from Calabasas, only learned of Newton-John's passing by seeing people crowded around the star.
"I had no idea that Olivia Newton-John had passed away until I saw this and everybody here. I'm just totally shocked and very sad," she said.
Newton-John, a four-time Grammy winner, had disclosed in 2017 that a recurrence of breast cancer had metastasized and spread to her lower back, forcing her to cancel performances. Twenty-five years earlier Newton-John had undergone a partial mastectomy, leading her to become an advocate for breast cancer research and other health issues and to establish a cancer treatment-research facility in Australia.
Newton-John, actress and singer was born in Cambridge, England in 1948. When Newton-John was six, her family moved to Melbourne, Australia where she appeared on talent shows and in a telemovie. After winning the prize of a trip to Britain, Newton-John travelled to her county of birth, where she recorded a single and toured nightclubs around Europe as part of a singing duo.
Among the favourites for the 1974 Eurovision Song contest was Britain's entry of Newton-John with a song called 'Long Live Love.' Newton-John finished fourth behind Swedish pop group ABBA who won the competition with the song 'Waterloo.'
The album released with the 'Long Live Love' single, included the hit 'I Honestly Love You' which earned Newton-John two Grammy awards with success on both the Adult Contemporary and Country charts.
Olivia Newton-John had her biggest career success with the 1978 film adaptation of the musical 'Grease,' which would become one of the most popular musicals in Hollywood history, starring alongside John Travolta as a high school senior.
The popularity of 'Grease' has endured since its first release in 1978 with numerous re-releases, and special screenings as a much-loved and classic film.
In 1980, Newton-John appeared in the film 'Xanadu' and in 1981 released the song 'Physical' shedding the 'good girl' image she had in Grease. The song's accompanying video featured her in workout clothes and a headband, which fuelled a fashion trend. While filming Xanadu, Newton-John met actor Matt Lattanzi who she married in 1984.
In 1986, Newton-John had her first and only child, Chloe Rose Lattanzi. She later divorce Lattanzi in 1995. Before a planned tour in 1992, Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer, which she recovered from but which returned in 2017.
After her first recovery, Olivia Newton-John became an advocate for health issues and breast cancer and built the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Australia's Melbourne. She also released a cookbook of healthy recipes in 2012.
In 2008, Newton-John married John Easterling and appeared on American Idol and Dancing with the Stars as a judge and in the television series Glee.
Newton-John remained most well-known for her role in 'Grease' and reunited with Travolta in 2018 for a special 40th-anniversary screening of the movie. In the same year, Newton-John also revealed that she was diagnosed with cancer for the third time, but later posted a video message on Twitter in 2019 to squash rumours of her ill health. She became an ardent advocate of medical cannabis after being diagnosed with cancer.