We are sad to report that Olivia Newton-John has passed away, aged 73. There has been no official reason given, but she was diagnosed with breast cancer for the third time in 2017.
Her husband posted the news on Monday, on her official Facebook page:
“Dame Olivia Newton-John (73) passed away peacefully at her ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends. We ask that everyone please respect the family’s privacy during this very difficult time.”
She had set up a foundation to help fight breast cancer, her husband added:
“Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer.
Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer.”
Olivia Newton-John was born in Cambridge on 26 September 1948. Her Welsh father had been an MI5 agent during World War II attached to the Enigma project at Bletchley Park. Her mother was the daughter of the German Nobel laureate, Max Born, and had fled with her family when the Nazis came to power in 1933.
In 1954 her father took up a post as a professor of German at the University of Melbourne and, with that, the family moved to Australia.
As a child Newton-John had developed a fascination with animals and harboured ambitions to be a vet but she found science a struggle at school. She turned to music. She formed a short-lived girl group with three school friends and began performing in a coffee shop run by her sister’s boyfriend.
After appearing on Australian television and releasing several singles, she also represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974. This led to her best known role starring opposite John Travolta in Grease, probably one of the best-known musicals of all time. She also appeared in such movies as Xanadu and Physical.
She would go on to release 14 albums of music in a career spanning decades.
Her co-star in Grease, John Travolta, posted on social media about Newton-John:
Newton-John was an amazing lady who helped others cope with cancer and gave much of her time to animal charities. Our thoughts are with her family and friends. We end with one of her quotes:
“There’s a rumor going around that I’m Miss Goody-two-shoes from Australia. Well, that’s a laugh. I’m really Miss Goody-two-shoes from England!”
Olivia Newton-John: 1948 – 2022