Olivia Newton-John Dies: ‘Grease’ Star Was 73

Olivia Newton-John
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Olivia Newton-John has died at the age of 73. Her husband, John Easterling, announced the news in a statement on the Grease star’s official Facebook page on Monday, August 8.

Though the statement does not directly say her cause of death, Newton-John had been living with breast cancer for three decades. A source close to the star told TMZ, “After a 30-year cancer journey, she lost her battle to metastatic breast cancer.”

Grease (Paramount Pictures/ Courtesy: Everett Collection)

“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,” Easterling’s statement read. “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.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made in her memory to the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund (ONJFoundationFund.org). Olivia is survived by her husband John Easterling; daughter Chloe Lattanzi; sister Sarah Newton-John; brother Toby Newton-John; nieces and nephews Tottie, Fiona and Brett Goldsmith; Emerson, Charlie, Zac, Jeremy, Randall, and Pierz Newton-John; Jude Newton-Stock, Layla Lee; Kira and Tasha Edelstein; and Brin and Valerie Hall.”

The “Physical” singer was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 but went into remission. Her cancer returned in 2013, but she went back into remission until 2017 when it came back again.

Born in England and raised in Melbourne, Australia, John shot to stardom as an actor and singer in the 1970s. In addition to playing Sandy in the beloved movie musical Grease, John had five No. 1 hits under her belt over her five decades in the industry. Some of the chart-topping songs including “Physical,” “Have You Never Been Mellow,” and “You’re the One That I Want” — her final Grease duet with John Travolta.

Olivia Newton-John on the cover of TV Guide Magazine

Following its release in 1978, Grease became the highest-grossing American movie musical of the 20th century. It brought in $395 million ($1.7 billion today) and remains one of the most beloved films in the movie musical genre. John later starred in another movie musical, Xanadu, in 1980 opposite the late Gene Kelly.

She reunited on screen with Travolta in the 1983 movie Two of a Kind, and in 2000 starred in Sordid Lives, which was developed into a prequel series in 2008. John co-starred in the show with Rue McClanahan, Beth Grant, and Caroline Rhea. She also made a cameo in Glee and made a “Physical” music video with the cast.

John won four Grammys and was nominated for 12. Her first win came in 1974 when she won Best Country Vocal Performance for “Let Me Be There.” Her hit “I Honestly Love You” won Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1975, and then she won Video of the Year for “Physical” in 1983.