Grease star Olivia Newton-John dies aged 73

Grease star Olivia Newton-John dies aged 73
Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in the iconic musical Grease. Credit: Belga

Tributes have flown from around the world to Olivia Newton-John, who has died from cancer aged 73.

The British-born Australian singer and actor rose to fame for playing girl-next door Sandy in Grease, arguably the most successful film musical ever made.

Her Grease co-star John Travolta said "my dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better," on Instagram. "Your impact was incredible. I love you so much."

Newton-John died peacefully at her California ranch where she was surrounded by family and friends. In addition to her husband John Easterling, she leaves behind her daughter Chloe Lattanzi, her sister Sarah Newton-John and brother Toby Newton-John.

She battled with cancer for 30 years  after first her first diagnosis in 1992. After her diagnosis, Newton-John worked to help others battle the disease and opened the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Research Centre in Melbourne.

A star is born in Grease

The musical was the biggest hit in the box offices in 1978 and it have her huge hit singles, such as 'You're the One that I want' and 'Summer Nights', bother sung with co-star John Travolta.  It enabled her to change her image and musical career from innocent, country pop.

Since her death, fans and celebrities have shared their tributes to the Australian star.

Actress Stockard Channing - who had the role of Rizzo in Grease - said: "I don't know if I've known a lovelier human being.

"Olivia was the essence of summer - her sunniness, her warmth and her grace are what always come to mind when I think of her. I will miss her enormously."

The film's director Randal Kleiser was friends with with Newton-John for 40 years and said "she never changed, she was always exactly the way everyone imagines her".

"She was charming, lovely, warm... There are so many clichés you can say about her but in her case it was all true."

Singer Rod Stewart said she was "the perfect lady, gorgeous, with great poise and with a certain Aussie sophistication".

"Her spandex trousers in Grease were my inspiration for my 'Da ya think I'm Sexy' era," he added, in reference to the legendary black outfit she sported at the end of the film.

US television host Oprah Winfrey said her "positivity was just infectious". "You'll be missed, Olivia... Here's to the good times."

Travolta wrote on Instagram: "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!" he added, signing off with: "Your Danny, your John!"

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