Olivia Newton-John Dies at 73 After Battling Cancer
Photo: Mario Ruiz/EPA/Shutterstock
Olivia Newton-John died Monday after a decades-long battle with cancer, her family confirmed in a Facebook post. The actor and singer was best known for her starring role in Grease as well as for such chart-topping hits as “Physical.” Over the course of her career, she won four Grammys, including Record of the Year for “I Honestly Love You” in 1975, and was nominated 12 times.
The news was announced in a message posted on Newton-John’s official Facebook page, which said the 73-year-old star died at her ranch in Southern California “surrounded by family and friends.” The message continued, “Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer.” She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992; in 2017, she publicly announced that, after over two decades in remission, her cancer had returned. “Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer,” her family wrote. Her husband, John Easterling, shared the same message on Instagram.
The Australian actor kept a low profile in recent years, appearing at only a handful of major events, including a 2019 sing-along screening of Grease and a 2018 Academy of Motion Pictures celebration of the film’s 40th anniversary. At the time, her co-star John Travolta told an Academy panel there was “no one else” who could have played Sandy. “There is no other person in the universe other than Olivia Newton-John to play Sandy — you must cast her,” he recalled telling the filmmakers. Shortly after the announcement of her death, Travolta remembered her with a tribute on Instagram, 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 Easterling and her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi, as well as her sister, brother, nieces, and nephews.