Olivia Newton-John will forever be known for her cheerful disposition and her starring role in the hit musical “Grease.” The singer and songwriter wanted to be remembered for more than the love songs and the role that defined her decades-long career.
Even after her first bout with breast cancer more than a quarter century ago, Newton-John was determined to use her celebrity status to raise awareness of the disease that affects 2 million women worldwide. Her efforts- including a charity walk on the Great Wall of China- raised millions for the cancer research center that bears her name.
It is sad that following her 1992 diagnosis of Stage 4 breast cancer, Newton-John died in California on Monday. The exact cause of death is not known, but the decedent is 73 years old and left behind her husband, John Easterling, and her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi.
“Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years and continues to do so after battling breast cancer, her husband wrote on Newton-John’s Instagram page.” “Olivia Newton-John’s healing inspiration and pioneering work with plant medicine continues through the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, which researches plant medicine and cancer.”
As noted by the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the No. 1 cause of death among women of all cancers. The disease is the most frequently diagnosed form of cancer among women, and certain countries have the highest rates of it in the world. The disease affects one in eight American women.
Breast cancer was first diagnosed in “Xanadu” star in 1992. She said her doctors caught it in its early stages because she was diligent about getting regular checkups. Ten years later, she opened the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Center in Austin.
After 21 years, the cancer returned.
Newton-John revealed the cancer returned in 2013 and spread to her right shoulder in an interview with the Australian current affairs program Sunday Night. For health reasons, she had to cancel her tours in the United States and Canada.
“Newton-John’s health was rumored to have deteriorated in the summer of 2018, and it intensified later that year. Despite dire reports, she appeared to refute those claims with a Facebook video in January, telling her fans, I just want to say that the rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated and I’m doing great. I want to wish all of you the happiest, healthiest 2019 as possible. “
On the Sunday Night interview, Newton-John claimed she was confident she would defeat the illness. Additionally to radiation treatment and eating a healthier diet, the popular singer and actress said she was combating the cancer naturally and used homemade cannabis chews to alleviate her pain and help her sleep.
Newton-John remained sane despite feeling overwhelmed and terrified at times by thinking of others facing cancer.
“There are some people out there who are worse off than me,” Newton-John said. I’m very privileged and I’m very aware of that. I mean, I live here in this beautiful place, I have a wonderful husband and all these animals that I love. I am unbelievably successful.”
Newton-John said once, “I have nothing to complain about.”
Newton-John was born Sept. 26, 1948, in Cambridge, England. When she was five, her family moved to Melbourne, Australia. When she was fifteen, she formed an all-girl musical group and was appearing on local TV shows.
She got her first big break in her singing career when she won a trip to London in a talent contest. For the entire 1960s, Newton-John travelled across Europe with a close friend, singing in army bases and clubs. At the time of her audition for “Grease” in the late 1970s, she had accomplished a successful solo career and won several Grammy Awards.
Getting regular mammograms is key to catching breast cancer in its early stages, when it’s easier to treat and the chances of curing it are much higher, said Nisha Unni, MD, a breast cancer specialist at UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center in Dallas. The progress of technology in breast cancer screening over the last two decades, including 3-D mammography, has aided doctors in detecting breast cancer in younger women.