(CNN) — Olivia Newton-John, the Australian singer whose voice and beauty made her one of the biggest pop stars of the 1970s and who captivated generations of audiences in the hit movie “Grease,” died Monday, according to a statement from her husband. He was 73 years old.
“Olivia has been a symbol of victory and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer. Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to plant medicine and cancer research. In lieu of flowers, the family Donations requested in her memory to @onjfoundation,” her husband John Easterling wrote in a statement on the singer’s verified Instagram account.
In September 2018, the singer revealed that she was undergoing treatment for cancer at the base of her spine. It was her third cancer diagnosis after being diagnosed with breast cancer in the early 1990s and in 2017.
Thanks to country and soft rock hits, Newton-John was already a popular singer in the late 1970s. But her co-starring role opposite John Travolta in 1978’s “Grease,” arguably the most popular movie musical of all time, elevated her to new levels of stardom.
Although she had little acting experience (she was 29 at the time of filming), Newton-John gave a compelling performance as Sandy, a sweet-natured Australian transfer student who has an affair with Danny, Travolta’s alpha boy at a school. 1950s in high school in Southern California.
Newton-John sang three of the film’s biggest hits: “You’re the One That I Want” and “Summer Nights” with Travolta, and her gorgeous solo ballad “Hopeless Devoted to You.”
Newton-John recorded her first single in England in 1966 and had a few international hits, but was largely unknown to American audiences until 1973, when “Let Be There” became a top 10 hit in both the UK and UK charts. Country music and adult contemporary music.
A string of No. 1 hits followed, including “I Honestly Love You,” “Have You Never Been Mellow,” and “Please Mister Please.”
Then came “Grease,” which was the highest-grossing film of 1978 and became an enduring cultural phenomenon.
The film gives Newton-John an opportunity to change his clean-cut image. The cover of her next album, “Totally Hot,” featured the singer dressed in black leather, while her songs had a more edgy, contemporary pop sound.
In 1981, she took her new, sexier persona a step further with “Physical,” a dance number with lyrics like “There’s nothing left to talk about if not horizontally.” Banned by several radio stations, it became his biggest hit, spending 10 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100.
Olivia Newton-John performing on the BBC TV music program ‘Top of the Pops’ in 1974.
He also appeared in several big-budget movies, including the musical fantasy “Xanadu” opposite Hollywood legend Gene Kelly in his last on-screen role. The film flopped, but its soundtrack sold well and spawned “Magic”, a number one hit.
In a long career, Newton-John has won four Grammy Awards and sold more than 100 million albums.
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