Actress and singer Dame Olivia Newton-John, best known for her iconic role as Sandy in Grease as well as hit singles like “Physical,” has passed away at the age of 73. The news was broken in a statement from her husband John Easterling on Facebook, who asks for privacy for the star’s family and friends.
“Dame Olivia Newton-John (73) passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends,” wrote Easterling. “We ask that everyone please respect the family’s privacy during this very difficult time.” Newton-John struggled for many years with a battle with breast cancer, an illness that she not only fought for thirty years, but raised money to combat in herself and others, along with a number of other philanthropic causes.
“Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer,” the post continued. “In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made in her memory to the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund.”
Newton-John first hit the limelight in 1974, representing the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest. She would go on to achieve superstardom throughout the 1970s and 1980s, namely as good girl Sandy in the film Grease, opposite John Travolta, who mourned her passing, saying “you made all of our lives so much better”. Newton-John was the recipient of four Grammy awards during her iconic musical career – which inspired many a leg-warmered Halloween costume — as well as five number-one hits. Her legacy continues on today, with references to “Physical”, perhaps her best known single, being made in shows like Glee and the 2021 series that takes its name from the hit song.
Newton-John’s philanthropic work spanned health, animal rights, and the environment. Along with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund dedicating money to research plant-based cancer treatments, in 2015 she opened the Olivia Newton John Cancer Research Institute in Heidelberg, Australia. She is survived by her husband Easterling, as well as her sister Sarah, daughter Chloe Lattanzi, and several nieces and nephew.
Our condolences go out to Newton-John‘s family and friends.