Olivia Newton-John dies at 73, husband says
(WGHP) — Olivia Newton-John died at 73 on Monday morning at her ranch in Southern California, according to her husband, John Easterling.
Easterling issued a statement that mentioned his wife’s three-decade-plus battle with breast cancer, but he didn’t specify how she died. TMZ reported Monday that a source “close to Olivia” confirmed, “After a 30-year cancer journey, she lost her battle to metastatic breast cancer.”
A longtime resident of Australia, the singer, songwriter, actress, entrepreneur and activist won four Grammys and had five No. 1 hits and ten top-10 hits. She also had two No. 1 albums in the 1970s.
Many will remember Newton-John’s 1981 smash hit “Physical,” which stayed for 10 weeks at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 list, longer than any other single in the ’80s.
The suggestive lyrics in “Physical” even made Newton-John blush as she told her would-be lover “There’s nothing left to talk about/Unless it’s horizontally” and finally called out “Let’s get animal! Animal!”
Photos: Olivia Newton-John through the years
“I recorded it and then suddenly thought, ‘Goodness, maybe I’ve gone too far!’” she told Entertainment Weekly in 2017, recalling how the song had been suggested by manager Roger Davies. “I called Roger and said, ‘We’ve got to pull this song!’ He said, ‘It’s too late. It’s already gone to radio and it’s running up the charts.’ I was horrified!”
She is also well known for her role as Sandy Olsson in “Grease” and was passionate about the environment and animal rights.
“Grease” co-star John Travolta reacted to news of Newton-John’s death in a social media post Monday:
My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better. Your impact was incredible. I love you so much. We will see you down the road and we will all be together again. Yours from the first moment I saw you and forever!
Your Danny, your John!
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Newton-John’s recent albums included “Stronger Than Before”; a holiday collaboration with Travolta, “This Christmas,” and the autobiographical “Gaia: One Woman’s Journey,” inspired by her battle with cancer and by the loss of her father.
Newton-John married John Easterling, founder of the Amazon Herb Company, in 2008. She was involved in numerous charitable causes, serving as goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme and as national spokeswoman for the Children’s Health Environmental Coalition. She also founded the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne, Australia.
She is survived by her husband; daughter Chloe Lattanzi; sister Sarah Newton-John; brother Toby Newton-John; and several nieces and nephews.
See Easterling’s full statement below:
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.
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.
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 Associated Press contributed to this report.
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