Grease star Olivia Newton-John has died aged 73. Her husband, John Easterling, announced the news on Newton-John’s official Facebook page. “Dame Olivia Newton-John (73) passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends,” the post read. “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 statement continued. “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).”
While no official cause of death has been given, Newton-John was very open about her cancer diagnosis. The star was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and then again in 2013. In 2021 she revealed that she was living with stage-4 cancer during an interview on The Today Show.
A four-time Grammy Award winner Newton-John is one of the most successful musical acts of all time. She’s had five number-one hits on the Billboard Hot 100, several of her albums have gone gold, and she’s also secured two platinum albums.
Born in Cambridge, England, Newton-John’s career as a singer began in the early ’70s, and she enjoyed a string of hits, including If You Love Me, Let Me Know and Have You Never Been Mellow. In 1978 she got her big acting break when she starred in the musical Grease alongside John Travolta, playing Sandy.
Newton-John earned a Golden Globe nomination for the role of Sandy. Her duet with Travolta (You’re the One That I Want) was one of the year’s biggest hits and remains one best-selling singles of all time.
In 1979 she was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire, and her career continued to go from strength to strength. In the ’80s, she starred in Xanadu, a musical fantasy movie. While the film was a box office disaster, the album accompanying the film was a massive success commercially, eventually going double platinum.
Around this time, she released Physical, which spent ten weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Her death has caused an outpouring of grief online from friends and fans. Our thoughts are with her family during this difficult time.