World bids adieu to Dame Olivia Newton-John

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The soulful voice and the everlasting beauty that has charmed many generations since 70’s,  Olivia Newton-John, four-time Grammy award winner, singer, actress and songwriter, passed away on Monday (8) losing a long battle to cancer.

No doubt, her voice and brilliance will continue to live on in the memories of millions of her fans.

“Dame Olivia 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,” her husband, John Easterling, announced via a statement on the singer’s Instagram account.

“Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer,” the statement continued.

Born on 26 September 1948 in the United Kingdom, she grew up in Australia. She was well-known for  singing, acting and activism. Her career commenced at an age of 14. At that age, Olivia formed Sol Four, a short-lived all-girl group, with three classmates, and used to perform in a her brother-in-law‘s coffee shop.  Later on, she became a regular on local Australian television shows including Time for Terry and HSV-7’s The Happy Show due to her amazing vocal talents. She also appeared on The Go!! Show where she met her future duet partner, singer Pat Carroll, and her future music producer, John Farrar. In 1965, she competed in a talent contest on the television programme Sing, Sing, Sing, hosted by Johnny O’Keefe and won the contest, but was initially reluctant to use the prize she had won which was a trip to Great Britain. However she travelled there nearly a year later after her mother encouraged her to broaden her horizons.

Olivia’s greater success came later in 1970’s with an undoubted performance in the film Grease, arguably the most popular movie musical of all time, which was produced in 1978’s. She starred as Sandy, a sweet-natured Australian transfer student who romances the alpha greaser Danny played by John Travolta. Her astounding performances, and enchanting vocal talents in some of the hit songs in the movie; You’re The One That I Want and Summer Nights with Travolta, and her blissful solo ballad, Hopelessly Devoted To You, caught the hearts of millions of fans worldwide.  Olivia, in fact, was one of those who took it to the fame and continued to dwell there, over the many years of life.

“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” says actress Stockard Channing – who played Rizzo in Grease, in a statement of grief, reiterating that Olivia Newton-John was a special kind.

Apart from being a singer and an actress, Olivia fought for what she believed to be good for the world as an activist for environmental and animal rights causes, and advocated for breast cancer research as well. She was honoured with the title ‘Dame,’ (which is the female equivalent of a Knight), at the 2020 New Year’s Honours Services, for her services to charity, cancer research and entertainment from Queen Elizabeth. In fact, she has been the glimpse of light at the other end of the dark tunnel for many, who were struggling through life.

“Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer,” the family’s statement read.

By Induwara Athapattu