Olivia Newton-John, Beloved Movie Star and Singer, Dead at 73

Olivia Newton-John, the beloved star of Grease and singer of countless hits, has died. She was 73. Newton-John fought a public battle with breast cancer for the past 30 years, establishing the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund and inspiring fans around the world. Newton-John's rep told TMZ she died at her Southern California ranch peacefully Monday morning.

"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," Newton-John's husband, John Easterling, announced on her Facebook page. She is survived by Easterling; daughter Chloe Lattanzi; 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.

"Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer," Newton-John's family said. "Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continue 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."

Newton-John was born in Cambridge, England on Sept. 26, 1948, and was the youngest of three children. When she was 6 years old, her family moved to Melbourne, Australia. She began performing as a teenager and released her first single in 1966. She got her first taste of international success in 1971, when she released her first solo album, If Not For You. The title track, a cover of the Bob Dylan song, also became a hit in the U.S. In 1974, she represented the U.K. at the Eurovision Song Contest, performing "Long Live Love," which helped her expand her reach. That same year, she also released what would become her signature song, "I Honestly Love You."

Following a string of successful singles, Newton-John cemented her status as a superstar when she was cast as Sandy in Grease, opposite John Travolta. Newton-John's sparkling vocals turned "You're The One That I Want," "Hopelessly Devoted to You" and "Summer Nights" into pop classics that dominated the late 1970s charts.

Newton-John's success continued into the 1980s, thanks in part to her best-selling single "Physical." Even though Xanadu wasn't met with critical praise, the soundtrack provided her with more hit singles. Unfortunately, by 1985, her music was less popular as newer female stars began dominating the pop charts. 

In 1992, she was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time and would devote the rest of her life to raising awareness of the disease. It charged the music she picked to record and how she could promote her work. In May 2017, her breast cancer returned and metastasized to her lower back. She later revealed that she also had another bout with breast cancer in 2013, but did not speak out about it at the time.

Newton-John released her final album, Friends for Christmas, in 2016. She also collaborated with Travolta many times throughout her career, most recently on the 2012 album This Christmas. Queen Elizabeth II appointed Newton-John a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2020 to honor her services to charity, entertainment, and cancer research.

"I don't know what I would be without it now. I see it as my life's journey. It gave me purpose and intention and taught me a lot about compassion," Newton-John told The Guardian in 2020 when asked about her cancer battle. "It has been a gift. I don't wish it on anyone else. But for me, it's been important in my life."