Olivia Newton-John: Australia celebrates the ‘force of nature’ artist

  • by Katherine Armstrong
  • BBC News

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Olivia Newton-John passed away last year after a long battle with cancer

Thousands paid tribute to the late Australian actress and singer Olivia Newton-John at a state memorial in her home city of Melbourne.

The 73-year-old died in the United States in August after a long battle with breast cancer.

Newton-John was best known for her role as Sandy in the iconic 1978 film Grease and for hit musicals such as Physical.

His daughter, Chloe Lattanzi, has said that her heart is “broken in two”.

Fighting back tears at the service in Hammer Hall, Ms. Lattanji said, “I stand here before you, wanting to feel strong and confident and speak eloquently, but the truth is that I am lost without my mother. I feel like a child.”

“She was my safe place, my guide, my biggest fan, and the ground beneath my feet.”

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Chloe Lattanzi, daughter of Olivia Newton-John, said her heart was “broken in two” following her mother’s death.

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John Easterling said every day with his late wife was “a little bit of magic”

Newton-John’s widower John Easterling also broke down while talking about his late wife.

“We’ve all had some tough times in our lives before like everyone does and we’re just talking about how lucky we were to have found each other,” he added.

“Every day with Olivia was supernatural. Every day with Olivia was a little bit of magic.”

Singer Dannii Minogue said it was because of Newton-John that she started performing and the thought of his death still plagued her mind.

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Delta Goodrem sang a medley of Olivia Newton-John’s songs at the end of the memorial service

Other celebrities including Sir Elton John, Mariah Carey and Pink paid tribute to the late star in a video recording played for the crowd at the memorial.

Sir Elton described her as an “amazing force of nature”, while Dolly Parton, who sang with Newton-John several times, said she considered her a friend as well as a fellow artist.

“Olivia, to quote one of your songs – I honestly love you,” Parton said.

The service ended with Australian singer Delta Goodrem singing one of Newton-John’s hits.

Goodrem said being able to celebrate his life was “incredibly special”.

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