Olivia Newton-John, the hitmaking “Physical” and “I Honestly Love You” singer who went on to star in the beloved film musical Grease and later Xanadu, died at her Southern California ranch, according to her official Facebook page. She was 73.
No cause of death was given, but Newton-John had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992. She later recovered but the cancer recurred in 2013 and had metastasized to her lower back within four years..
A UK native who was raised in Australia, Newton-John began her career as a country singer but quickly crossed over to pop with the the late-1973 hit “Let Me Be There.” It was the first of 15 Top 10 U.S. singles, including five No. 1s: “I Honestly Love You,” “Have You Never Been Mellow,” “You’re the One That I Want” — with John Travolta, from, Grease — “Magic” and her biggest smash, “Physical.” The latter topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 10 weeks and was the biggest single of 1981.
She is best known to movie fans as the “Sandra Dee”-esque Sandy in Grease, the 1978 smash that remains among the top-grossing movie musicals of all time. Starring opposite Travolta in the Broadway adaptation, Newton-John sang the film’s ballad “Hopelessly Devoted to You” and also duetted with Travolta and company on “Summer Nights.” Both of those singles also made the U.S. Top 10. The film’s soundtrack has sold more than 8 million copies in the U.S. alone.