by Abb Jones
The Reelness

30 years after her initial diagnosis, breast cancer has claimed the life of one of the world’s best-selling musical artists, four-time Grammy Award-winning singer and actress Olivia Newton-John.

Newton-John’s husband John Easterling says she died peacefully at her home near Santa Barbara, California Monday morning, surrounded by loved ones, just over two years after her Stage 4 breast cancer returned for a third time. Shortly after learning her cancer had returned, Newton-John revealed in an August 2019 interview with 60 Minutes Australia that she had asked her doctors not to let her know how long she had left to live, believing it would ruin her remaining time left.

Olivia Newton-John receiving a lifetime achievement award at the Dance Awards & Cancer Benefit Show in August 2019, shortly after revealing her cancer had returned.

With a storied musical career that included five number one hits and ten more that charted in the Top Ten, Newton-John is best known for her iconic, Golden Globe-nominated performance in the 1978 musical blockbuster Grease, playing the role of good girl Sandy to John Travolta’s bad boy Danny.

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in Grease

Grease‘s soundtrack is one of the most successful in music history with “You’re The One That I Want” being one of the best-selling singles of all time and “Hopelessly Devoted to You” receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song. Newton-John’s other film roles include Xanadu, Two of a Kind, It’s My Party and the comedy Sordid Lives.

Newton-John’s musical success skyrocketed after representing the United Kingdom at the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest, where she finished 4th to ABBA’s winning Swedish entry, “Waterloo.”   Later that year, Newton-John was the Country Music Association’s Female Vocalist of the Year, defeating more traditional nominees Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Tanya Tucker and Anne Murray. Also noteworthy – Newton-John won Grammys for Best Female Vocal Performance in two different genres – country (1974) and pop (1975).

Over the course of her career, Newton-John would sell an astounding 100 million records worldwide. Among her biggest hits:  “Physical,” “Magic,” “You’re The One That I Want,” “Have You Never Been Mellow,” and “I Honestly Love You.”

Olivia Newton-John is survived by her husband John Easterling, whom she married in 2008, her daughter Chloe, who she had with first husband Matt Lattanzi, siblings Sarah and Toby, and a multitude of nephews and nieces.

Newton-John was 73.



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