Australian icon Olivia Newton-John remembered at last goodbye

Key points
  • Farewell to Olivia Newton-John took place on Sunday at Melbourne’s Hamer Hall.
  • The Grease star has died after a 20-year battle with cancer at the age of 73.
  • After being diagnosed with cancer, Newton-John began raising funds for cancer research and awareness.
There were laughter and tears as thousands gathered to remember the life of Olivia Newton-John.
Sunday’s public memorial service at Melbourne’s Hamer Hall came six months after the renowned performer and activist passed away at the age of 73.

She lived with breast cancer for 20 years.

Newton-John should be remembered as a courageous man who genuinely cared about those around him, said husband John Easterling.
“Every day with Olivia was supernatural. Every day with Olivia was a bit of magic,” he said at the memorial service.

“In the most difficult times, she always had the spirit, humor and willpower to bring things to light.”

Newton-John’s daughter Chloe Lattanzi said her heart was broken in two.
“The other half is with my mom,” she said. “I know she keeps it for me until we meet again.”

Australian performers, dignitaries and fans filled the Hamer Hall for the service, and international stars Dolly Parton, Mariah Carey and Sir Cliff Richard were among those who sent video tributes.

Delta Goodrem Sings at the Olivia Newton-John Memorial

Australian singer Delta Goodrem performs during the state memorial service for Olivia Newton-John at Hamer Hall in Melbourne, Sunday 26 February 2023. Source: AARP / James Ross

Delta Goodrem, who played Newton-John in the 2018 miniseries, also held back tears as she performed a medley of the singer’s greatest hits, including Let’s Get Physical and Xanadu.

Newton-John moved to Melbourne from the UK at a young age and showed an early passion for performing.

Her big break came when she played the role of Sandy in the 1978 film Grease.

The film, which included such hits as “You’re the one I want” and “Summer Nights”, became the soundtrack for an entire generation and remains one of the most successful musicals of all time.
Newton-John’s career spans over 60 years, during which she has released 28 studio and six live albums.

She has won four Grammys and has many number one hits, with over 100 million records sold.

In 1992, Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer and began raising funds for cancer research and awareness.

A treatment and research center in Melbourne, the Olivia Newton-John Health and Research Center opened in 2012 and its services have helped thousands of people.

“Olivia was forward-thinking,” Debbie Shiel of the center said at the memorial service.
“What seemed so obvious to us now was actually groundbreaking at the time.”

In 2019, Newton-John was appointed an OBE and also appointed an OBE.