Olivia Newton-John Dead at 73, Husband Says – PaintBallBeam

Cole Bennetts/Getty Images

Cole Bennetts/Getty Images

Grease legend Olivia Newton-John died Monday morning at age 73, according to her husband.

In a statement posted across Newton-John’s social media accounts, John Easterling said that the actress and singer died peacefully at her Southern California ranch surrounded by friends and family. Easterling, whom Newton-John married in 2008, asked that the family be given privacy “during this very difficult time.”

Easterling’s statement did not confirm a cause of death, but he called his wife “a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer.”

A source close to the family told TMZ that Newton-John had “lost her battle to metastatic breast cancer” after a three-decade fight. Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992. In 2017, she revealed that it had spread to her lower back after more than two decades in remission.

Born in the United Kingdom in 1948, Newton-John moved to Melbourne, Australia, when she was six years old. A mainstay of Australian television and radio from a young age, the multi-faceted performer jumped to larger projects soon after, with mixed results. It wasn’t until 1978, when she was cast as girl-next-door Sandy Olsson in a film adaptation of the popular Broadway musical Grease, that she achieved her hopelessly devoted international following.

But Newton-John was initially reluctant to take the role, once-bitten by a previous cinematic venture, the sci-fi musical Toomorrow, that had ended in disaster.

“I was very anxious about making another film,” she told Vanity Fair in 2016, “because my music career was going well, and I did not want to mess it up by doing another movie that wasn’t good.”

She also had reservations about playing a high-school senior, given that she was 28 when producer Allan Carr approached her. But after a screen-test opposite a then-23-year-old John Travolta, Newton-John signed on—and made movie history.

As Sandy, an innocent Aussie transfer student who breaks out of her shell by transforming into a leather-clad siren, Newton-John held her own against Travolta’s lovelorn greaser Danny Zuko. Together, the pair were box office rocket-fuel, making Grease the highest-grossing American movie musical of the 20th century.

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