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The Tragic Passing of Olivia Newton-John

In light of the passing of Olivia Newton-John, her battle with breast cancer is detailed by our Editorial Assistant, Zoe van der Merwe, who gives homage to Newton-John’s achievements.

After battling breast cancer for nearly thirty-years, beloved music star and actress Olivia Newton John passed away on the morning of 8 August 2022, aged 73. From statements posted to her official social media accounts, her husband John Easterling confirmed the tragic news, saying Olivia “Passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California” surrounded by her family and friends.[1]

Newton-John, in her five-decade long career was well known for her many contributions to the music and film industry. She first achieved success as a country music singer, but it was her role as Sandy in the film Grease that transformed her into a household name. Throughout her career she went on to win multiple awards, including four GRAMMYs and ten American Music Awards. In 1981, she even earned her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. However, her legacy will most notably be remembered for her decades of charity work and efforts in progressing cancer research.

Following her sister’s death from brain cancer and her first diagnosis of breast cancer in 1992, Newton-John became a leading advocate for cancer research. She founded her own independent charity, the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, and raised millions for research into plant medicine as an alternative cancer treatment. On her mission page for her foundation, she stated: “My dream is that we will realize a world beyond cancer. I honestly believe we can do it!”.[2]

Despite a second diagnosis in 2013 and a third in 2018, she continued to campaign and work towards realising this dream before her passing by establishing the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre. In a statement shared by the hospital running the centre in Melbourne they said, “She was the light at the end of the tunnel for many, many people.” [3]

She received many honours for her advocacy and was even recognised by the Queen, who bestowed upon her the title of damehood in the 2020 New Year’s Honour’s list. Olivia Newton-John will always be remembered for her impact and will be missed by millions across the globe.


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