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Actor, singer Olivia Newton-John dies at age 73

Singer and actor Olivia Newton-John, who was best known for playing Sandy in the film "Grease," has died at the age of 73, according to her husband.

John Easterling announced that Newton-John "passed away peacefully" at her ranch in Southern California Monday morning, surrounded by family and friends.

"We ask that everyone please respect the family’s privacy during this very difficult time," Easterling said in a post to Newton-John's official Instagram and Facebook accounts.

A cause of death was not given, but Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 that resurfaced in May 2017.

Newton-John starred in the 1978 blockbuster "Grease," with "You're the One That I Want," a duet with John Travolta from the film's soundtrack, spending nearly six months on American music charts and selling more than 15 million copies. She also did a second collaboration with Travolta, starring with him in the 1983 film "Two of a Kind."

Following news of her death, Travolta took to Instagram to honour his former co-star and friend.

"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!" reads the post in part.

Newton-John was the daughter of German literature professor Brin Newton-John and Irene Born, whose father was Nobel Prize-winning physicist Max Born.

The British-born, Australian bred star was a prominent figure on music charts with songs like 1981's "Physical" going on to become the No. 1 single of that decade, according to Billboard, despite the R-rated track being banned by some radio stations.

She is credited with selling more than 100 million records and has won four Grammy Awards over the course of her five-decade music career.

Her song "I Honestly Love You" won both record of the year and best female pop vocal performance at the 17th Grammy Awards in 1975.

She won the award for best female country vocal performance for "Let Me Be There" at the 16th Grammys and video of the year for the 1982 collection "Olivia Physical" at the 25th Grammys.

In 1974, Newton-John beat out Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn for the Country Music Association's top female vocalist of the year, a moment that bothered many Nashville purists at the time, Reuters reports.

She also finished fourth in the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest representing the United Kingdom.

Newton-John starred alongside Gene Kelly in the 1980 musical film "Xanadu." While the film proved to be a bust, Newton-John's single "Magic" did reach No. 1 on the Billboard charts.

Newton-John's marriage to fellow "Xanadu" actor Matt Lattanzi, with whom she had a daughter, actor-singer Chloe Lattanzi, ended in 1995.

A years-long relationship with cameraman Patrick McDermott, meanwhile, ended mysteriously after he went missing during a 2005 fishing trip in California. While his fate remained unknown years later, reports alleged he was living in Mexico with a new girlfriend.

"He was lost at sea, and nobody really knows what happened," Newton-John told Australia's "60 Minutes" in 2016. "It's human to wonder. But you know, those are the things in life you have to accept and let go. Because whenever you go through difficult times, there's always those concerns."

Newton-John married Easterling, founder of the Amazon Herb Company, in 2008.

In more recent years, Newton-John became best known as an advocate for breast cancer survivors and was made a dame in 2019 in recognition of her career and her support of cancer research.

"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," Easterling said.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made in her memory to the Olivia Newton-John Foundation.

Newton-John is survived by her husband, daughter Chloe Lattanzi, sister Sarah Newton-John, brother Toby Newton-John, and several nieces and nephews.

With files from Writer Michael Lee, The Associated Press and Reuters Top Stories


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