Olivia Newton-John has died at the age of 73. In a statement posted to Instagram, her husband, John Easterling, broke the news of her passing Monday.
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 (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.
– via John Easterling, husband of Olivia Newton-John.
Ms Newton-John was born in Oxford, England, in 1948. When she was 5 years old, she relocated with her parents and two older siblings to Melbourne, where her WWII codebreaker father, Brinley Newton-John, served as the headmaster of Ormond College.
If Not for You, Newton-John’s 1971 debut solo album, yielded her first international hit: the eponymous Bob Dylan cover, which reached No. 25 on U.S. charts. “I’m not madly ambitious, that I want to be a huge star or anything like that. I just want to get better at what I’m doing,” the 23-year-old singer told ABC News Australia.
It was when Newton-John pivoted from folk-rock to country that she became an international star. The twangy title song from her third album, Let Me Be There, released in 1973, went gold in the U.S. and peaked at No. 7 on the country charts. Between 1974 and 1976, the crossover artist would have seven songs land in the Top 10 Country Singles. She received Grammy Awards for “Let Me Be There” and “I Honestly Love You,” the No. 1 single from her next studio album. Her unlikely success as an Australian country star was not without controversy. After Newton-John won the Country Music Association’s 1974 Female Vocalist of the Year Award — beating fellow nominees Dolly Parton, Anne Murray and Loretta Lynn — some CMA members were so furious about a “foreigner” receiving the award that they quit the CMA in protest.
Olivia made her Hollywood film debut as the star of the 1950s-set musical Grease. The role of Sandy, a virginal high school senior who ultimately embraces her wild side, spoke to the star, who’d always wrestled with her own “good girl” image. “The part of Sandy is not too far away from myself in reality,” she told the New York Times before the film opened.
Grease was the highest-grossing film of 1978, and the soundtrack resulted in three of her biggest international singles (two of them duets with co-star John Travolta): “You’re the One That I Want,” “Summer Nights” and “Hopelessly Devoted to You.”
At age 33, Olivia released the most successful solo album of her career, the 1981 pop odyssey Physical. The song spent 10 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 100. Since then Olivia released more than an dozen albums.
She is survived by husband, John Easterling and daughter Chloe Lattanzi, who she shared with her first husband Matthew Lattanzi who she was married to from 1984 to 1995.