Singer and actress Olivia Newton-John, who starred in the 1978 hit film musical Grease, died Monday at the age of 73, according to her official Facebook page. No official cause of death was released, but Newton-John had been battling breast cancer for years, with the cancer returning in 2017.
Newton-John “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,” according to the statement.
“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. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made in her memory to the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund.”
The statement continued: “Olivia is survived by her husband John Easterling; daughter Chloe Lattanzi; sister Sarah Newton-John; 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.”
Born in the UK and raised in Australia, Newton-John began recording music in the 1960s, releasing her first solo album in 1971. She went on to release a number of chart-topping singles, including the 1981 hit “Physical.” She also won a total of four Grammys, including Record of the Year for “I Honestly Love You” in 1974.
In 1978, she starred alongside John Travolta in the hit film version of the Broadway musical Grease. Newton-John played the prim and proper Sandy, who falls in love with bad boy greaser Danny, played by Travolta. The film was a huge success, becoming the highest-grossing film of the year and the highest-grossing movie musical of all time to that point. The soundtrack was also a smash hit, selling more than 28 million copies worldwide to date and scoring a number-one hit for Newton-John and Travolta with the duet “You’re the One That I Want.”
Newton-John’s TV appearances were mostly concert specials and celebrity cameos: She hosted Saturday Night Live in 1982 and also appeared as the episode’s musical guest. She recorded a number of concert specials for ABC and HBO, including 1988’s Olivia Down Under. She served as a guest judge on American Idol in Season 2 and then again in Season 6, and played herself in a pair of Glee episodes.