John Travolta leads tributes to Dame Olivia Newton-John after her death

John Travolta has led tributes to his Grease costar Dame Olivia Newton-John and her “incredible impact” following news of her death.

The British-born singer died “peacefully” at her Southern California ranch on Monday morning at the age of 73, with her husband confirming her death on social media.

She was surrounded by family and friends, John Easterling said.

Dame Olivia is best known for her starring role as Sandy in the 1978 film Grease, where she appeared opposite Travolta, who played Danny Zuko.

Travolta wrote on Instagram that her “influence was incredible” and signed his tribute to the actress as “your Danny”.

“My dear Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better,” he wrote.

“Your influence 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!”

Dame Olivia’s performance saw her nominated for several awards, including two Golden Globes, and various other film awards.

She was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame almost 41 years ago to the day of her death, August 5, 1981.

The Grease soundtrack is one of the world’s best-selling albums of recorded music and features the two hit duets from Dame Olivia and Travolta: Summer Nights and You’re The One That I Want.

The latter also ranks as one of the best-selling singles of all time.

The cast and crew of Grease the musical, currently playing at the Dominion Theater in London’s West End, also paid tribute to Dame Olivia after Monday’s performance.

“Olivia Newton-John is an icon who has inspired countless young artists around the world, not least our company of Grease in the West End,” the statement said.

“We would like to dedicate tonight’s performance and the rest of the run to Olivia’s memory and all that she represented.”

Actress Olivia Moore, who plays Sandy on the show, told the PA news agency it had been “surreal” to find out the news during the interval and later reveal it to the public.

“She’s perfection,” Moore, 26, told PA.

“The way she performed Sandy, the way she was Sandy, is perfection, and I definitely have the responsibility now and to make sure I continue to wave that flag.”

Other Hollywood A-listers and collaborators who paid tribute to Dame Olivia included Kylie Minogue, Peter Andre, Dionne Warwick, James Gunn and Edgar Wright.

Apart from her hit role in the film, Dame Olivia is also a multi-platinum selling artist, with two singles and two albums achieving the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certification.

The singer also represented Great Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 with the song Long Live Love.

She finished fourth in the competition, held in Brighton, losing to Abba, with their hit song Waterloo.

In a statement posted on Instagram, husband John Easterling wrote: “We ask that everyone respect the family’s privacy during this very difficult time.

Dame Olivia’s daughter Chloe Lattanzi paid tribute to her mother with a selection of photos on Instagram.

The post included photos of Lattanzi as a baby, as well as several that show the couple appearing to give interviews together.

Apart from her show business career, Dame Olivia became a prominent breast cancer campaigner, having received the first of three cancer diagnoses in 1992.

After her first bout with the disease, she had a partial mastectomy and reconstruction.

She remained cancer-free until a recurrence in 2013, but revealed that she had been diagnosed with cancer for the third time in three decades in September 2018.

Olivia Newton-John as Sandy (left) and Didi Conn as Frenchy in Grease

Olivia Newton-John as Sandy (left) and Didi Conn as Frenchy in Grease (Paramount/Rso/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock)

At the time, she told Australian news program Sunday Night that doctors had found a tumor in her lower back in 2017.

The singer said she treated the disease “naturally” and used cannabis oil made from marijuana her husband grows in California to ease the pain.

Her husband said on Instagram: “Olivia has been a symbol of triumph and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer.

“Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience in herbal medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to research into herbal medicine and cancer.”

“I am extremely excited, honored and grateful beyond words to be included with such an esteemed group of women who have received this distinguished award before me,” she said.


Dame Olivia is survived by her husband John Easterling and daughter Chloe Lattanzi (PA)

“Thank you to the Prime Minister and the Chief Honors Committee for recommending me, and of course Her Majesty the Queen for approving me as a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

“As a girl born in Cambridge, I am very proud of my British ancestry and so grateful to be recognized in this way by the UK.”

She is survived by her husband and daughter.

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