Olivia Newton-John dies aged 73 from Cancer

Tributes have been paid from around the world to Olivia Newton-John, who has died from cancer aged 73.

The British-born Australian singer and actress was best known for playing Sandy in Grease, one of the most successful film musicals ever made.

Her Grease co-star John Travolta said she “made all of our lives so much better” while its director said: “What you see is what you get with her.”

She died peacefully at her California ranch surrounded by family and friends.

In a statement posted on social media, Newton-John’s widower John Easterling said: “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.”

Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer three times.

But instead of focusing on her third prognosis, she raised funds for research into the effects of cannabis as a cancer treatment.

Newton-John early life

Newton-John was born in Cambridge, UK on 26 September 1948.

Her father had been a British spy during World War Two. 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.

The family moved to Australia in 1954, where she was raised.

Her breakthrough came in 1971 when she released a Bob Dylan-penned track, If Not For You, which reached number seven in the UK charts and featured on an album of the same name.

She won four Grammy awards and scored seven US number one hits between 1974 and 1977.

In 1978 she became a global star with the release of Grease. The film, set in the 1950s, told the story of Sandy’s summer fling with John Travolta’s Danny and the difficulties the relationship encounters. In the end the pair reconciles, with Sandy having transformed her appearance.

Diagnosed with cancer

Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer three times.

But instead of focusing on her third prognosis, she raised funds for research into the effects of cannabis as a cancer treatment.

Newton-John first overcame cancer in 1992 and was then in remission until 2013, when she was again diagnosed with the disease.

She revealed she had been diagnosed with cancer for the third time in three decades in September 2018.

At the time, she told Australian news programme Sunday Night that doctors had found a tumour in her lower back in 2017.

The singer said she was treating the illness “naturally” and was using cannabis oil made from marijuana her husband grows in California to alleviate the pain.

She received a damehood for her services to charity, cancer research and entertainment in 2020.

Olivia Newton-John photos

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