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Grease star Olivia Newton-John dies at 73

Olivia Newton-John
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Olivia Newton-John has died at the age of 73. She was best known for her role as good-girl-turned-bad Sandy in the hit musical movie Grease, and for her song "Physical" which topped the 1980s music charts.

The news comes from her husband, John Easterling, who broke the news via social media post: "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."

Her Grease co-star John Travolta paid tribute in a social post reading: "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! Your Danny, your John!"

Over the course of her bountiful career, Newton-John won four Grammys, including two Record of the Year awards for her singles "I Honestly Love you" and "Physical". With over 100 million records sold, she became one of the best-selling music artists of the 20th century. She was nominated for her performance in Grease, which would go on to become the biggest box-office hit of 1978 and earn her the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Comedy or Musical.

The performer was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, which led to the creation of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Research Centre in her native Melbourne, Australia. She announced in 2017 that the cancer had returned, this time spreading to her spine.

Actor George Takei took to Twitter (opens in new tab) to commemorate the late actor with a touching statement: "We have lost a great, iconic artist in Olivia Newton-John, gone too soon from us at age 73. I trust she is now in the great Xanadu beyond. Know that we are forever hopelessly devoted to you, Olivia. Rest in song and mirth."

Lauren Milici
Senior Writer, Tv & Film

Lauren Milici is a Senior Entertainment Writer for GamesRadar+ currently based in the Midwest. She previously reported on breaking news for The Independent's Indy100 and created TV and film listicles for Ranker. Her work has been published in Fandom, Nerdist, Paste Magazine, Vulture, PopSugar, Fangoria, and more. Her first collection of poetry, "FINAL GIRL," sold out of print. Her second collection, "Sad Sexy Catholic," is forthcoming in 2023.