Danny and Sandy forever. John Travolta’s response to Olivia Newton-John’s death shows how he’ll always have love for his co-star.
Travolta—who starred as Danny Zuko to Newton-John’s Sandy Olsson in 1978’s Grease—took to his Instagram on August 8, 2022, to pay tribute to his late-costar after the news of her death at the age of 73. “My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better. 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! Your Danny, your John,” Travolta captioned a throwback photo of Newton-John.
Newton-John’s husband, John Easterling, announced his late wife’s death in a post on her Instagram account on August 8, 2022. She was 73 years old. “Dame Olivia Newton-John (73) 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,” Easterling captioned a photo of his late wife. “Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs 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 researching plant medicine and cancer. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made in her memory to the @onjfoundation.”
The post continued, “Olivia is survived by her husband John Easterling; daughter Chloe Lattanzi; sister Sarah Newton-John; brother Toby Newton-John; nieces and nephews Tottie, Fiona and Brett Goldsmith; Emerson, Charlie, Zac, Jeremy, Randall, and Pierz Newton-John; Jude Newton-Stock, Layla Lee; Kira and Tasha Edelstein; and Brin and Valerie Hall.”
Newton-John married married Easterling in 2008. She has one child, daughter Chloe Rose Lattanz, whom she shares with ex-husband, Matt Lattanzi, whom she was married to from 1984 to 1995. Newton-John’s death comes 30 years after she was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992. “I draw strength from the millions of women who have faced this challenge successfully,” she said in a statement at the time. “This has been detected early because I’ve had regular examinations, so I encourage other women to do the same.” In 2017, Newton-John announced that her breast cancer had metastasized to the sacrum, which led her to postpone her tour at the time. Prior to her diagnosis, Newton-John had postponed the first half of her tour two weeks due to severe back pain, which she initially thought was sciatica. Tests later discovered that the pain was from cancer that spread. “I love u mama … Will all of u send healing prayers for my mamas back please,” her daughter Chloe wrote in an Instagram post at the time. “I believe in the power of positive thinking and energy. Love u all.”
After her diagnosis with breast cancer, Newton-John launched her foundation John Cancer and Wellness Centre in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia, in 2008. In an interview with The Guardian in 2020, Newton-John opened up about why she didn’t consider her illness a “death sentence.” “I don’t know what I would be without it now,” she said. “I see it as my life’s journey. It gave me purpose and intention and taught me a lot about compassion.” She continued, “It has been a gift. I don’t wish it on anyone else. But for me, it’s been important in my life.”
Newton-John also told the publication at the time about what she learned from her illness. “As you get older, you grow some wisdom,” she said. “You realise that you will get through this and you will survive it. Like the pandemic – these things happen, but life goes on. We will all learn and grow a lot from this. I think there’ll be positive things that come out of it,” she said. She continued, “I don’t think of myself as sick with cancer. I choose not to see it as a fight either because I don’t like war. I don’t like fighting wherever it is – whether it’s outside or an actual war inside my body. I choose not to see it that way. I want to get my body healthy and back in balance. Part of that is your mental attitude to it. If you think: ‘Poor me,’ or ‘I’m sick,’ then you’re going to be sick.”
Newton-John also told The Guardian about how much she had healed in 2020 after her cancer returned in 2017. “I’m good, thank you!” she said at the time. “I was so weak. I had a walker, a cane and crutches, but now I’m walking around.” She added, “It’s been a part of my life for so long. I felt something was wrong. It’s concerning when it comes back, but I thought: ‘I’ll get through it again.’”
Newton-John also opened up about why she wasn’t scared of death, despite her second cancer diagnosis. “It’s been a part of my life for so long. I’m going to look at it like that. Listen, I think every day is a blessing. You never know when your time is over; we all have a finite amount of time on this planet, and we just need to be grateful for that. I felt something was wrong. It’s concerning when it comes back, but I thought: ‘I’ll get through it again,’” she said.
For more about Olivia Newton-John, read her memoir, Don’t Stop Believin’. The 2019 New York Times bestseller takes readers through Newton-John’s life in her own words, from how she was cast in career-making movies like Grease and Xanadu to how she became one of the world’s bestselling recording artists of all time, with more than 100 million albums sold and four Grammys under her belt. The book also provides an intimate look at Newton-John’s life, including her cancer diagnosis in 1992 and how her strength, courage and grace led her to open the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia, and dedicate her life to cancer research. “Warm, candid, and moving, Don’t Stop Believin’ is Olivia Newton-John’s story in her own words for the very first time,” the publisher’s description reads.
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