Renowned Australian musician, actor and environmentalist, Olivia Newton-John, has passed away at the age of 73. News of her death broke this morning, with a statement written by her husband John Easterling posted on social media noting that Newton-John “passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California”.
Easterling’s statement also named Newton-John as “a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years”, having shared her journey with breast cancer for 30 years. Newton-John had previously discussed her health battles at length, noting in 2017 that her most recent bout with cancer had seen it categorised as stage IV.
The family of Olivia Newton-John have issued a statement on her passing:
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Olivia Newton-John was born in Cambridge, England in 1948, before moving to Australia in 1954 at the age of six. In 1965, she experienced her first brush with fame after winning the Johnny O’Keefe-hosted talent show, Sing, Sing, Sing.
Working with songwriter Pat Carroll, the pair travelled to the UK, where Newton-John would release her debut single, ‘Till You Say You’ll Be Mine’ in 1968. She released her debut album in 1971; her fourth album, Have You Never Been Mellow, reached #1 in the US and kickstarted a long-lasting international career. Eight of Newton-John’s singles topped the US Adult Contemporary charts over the next three years.
In 1978, Newton-John landed her most iconic film role, performing the role of Sandy Olsson alongside John Travolta in the film adaptation of Grease, with the movie swiftly becoming a massive success. 1980’s Xanadu was another widespread silver screen success for Newton-John. However, her acting career petered out somewhat in subsequent years.
Newton-John maintained her music career over the decades, with her final album – Friends For Christmas, a duet with John Farnham – arriving in 2016. In 1979, she was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II, and she received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in 1981. Two decades later, she was inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame for her contribution to Australian music.
Alongside her creative efforts, Newton-John cultivated a legacy as an animal rights activist and environmentalist, with her work seeing her named a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations’ Environment Program in 1990.
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