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Olivia Newton-John Remembered by Fellow Entertainers After Her Death at 73: 'Thank You for the Music'

·21-min read

Singer-songwriter and actress Olivia Newton-John, a four-time Grammy winner and star of beloved movie musical Grease, died on Monday. She was 73.

"Dame Olivia Newton-John 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," her husband, John Easterling, announced Monday on Newton-John's social media channels.

"Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer," continued the 70-year-old Amazon Herb Company founder. "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."

RELATED: Olivia Newton-John Dead at 73: The Star and 'Grease' Icon Dies of Breast Cancer

Following the announcement, tributes to the Xanadu superstar came via social media from fellow celebrities, musicians and film stars.

For more on Olivia Newton-John, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

John Travolta, who starred as Danny Zuko alongside Newton-John in Grease, posted a note on Instagram expressing love for his co-star, collaborator and longtime friend.

"My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better. Your impact was incredible. I love you so much," wrote Travolta, 68, alongside a photo of Newton-John. "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!"

Frankie Valli, who sang the Grease title song and performed a string of concerts with Newton-John in 2016, spoke to PEOPLE on Monday about his memories with the actress and singer. "She was a great talent and certainly one of my favorites," said the legendary musician. "She will be missed."


Mark Sullivan Bradley, photographed at Gaia Retreat and Spa

"She loved Grease, and you could see it in the performance she gave... She never changed, in that she didn't come on like she was a star or better than anybody else, and those are the things I like about her," continued Valli. "She was a superstar, and she was one before Grease. She was selling records and having hits one right after the other. She will be missed, and I wish that we could have done more performances together."

Stockard Channing, who played Pink Lady Betty Rizzo in Grease, also remembered her costar on Monday, telling PEOPLE in a statement, "I don't know if I've known a lovelier human being."

"Olivia was the essence of summer – her sunniness, her warmth and her grace are what always come to mind when I think of her," she added. "I will miss her enormously."

Jamie Donnelly, who portrayed fellow Pink Lady Jan, spoke highly of the actress and singer in a statement to PEOPLE, writing, "Olivia's heart was as pure as her voice. Her goodness and grace will shine through the ages in her work. I have known her for over 40 years and never heard her say a negative word of anyone or anyone say a negative word of her. What a glorious soloist for the heavenly choir!"

RELATED: Grease Cast Members Pay Tribute to Olivia Newton-John After Her Death: 'One of the Kindest' Souls

Dinah Manoff, who played Marty Maraschino in the film, also honored Newton-John via a statement to PEOPLE following her death.

"As many will tell you, Olivia Newton-John was one of the kindest, most generous souls ever to grace the earth, and I was one lucky Pink Lady to have spent time with her during the filming of Grease," Manoff said. "She brought light and laughter wherever she went. My deepest condolences to her family and friends during their time of great loss."

Grease Cast Remembers Olivia Newton-John After Her Death
Grease Cast Remembers Olivia Newton-John After Her Death

getty (2) Dinah Manoff, Olivia Newton-John

Del Shores, who wrote and directed the 2000 independent comedy Sordid Lives as well as its 2008 prequel television series — both of which starred his longtime friend Newton-John as lead character Bitsy Mae Harling — issued a written statement to PEOPLE following her death. "Olivia was my friend for 37 years. She was beautiful inside and out. Kind, smart with a wonderful sense of humor," said the filmmaker, 64.

He then recalled their friendship's unconventional origin story. "I saw her in concert in Brownsville, Texas, when I was 16 [and] was a fan until we met in 1985 when her sister Rona brought her to my very first play [Cheatin'] in a tiny 42-seat house," continued Shores, noting that Olivia first expressed interest in playing Bitsy Mae during a call on his birthday.

"[She said,] 'Teach me the accent, and I can play that singer!' Best birthday gift ever! She did my little movie and then the series to perfection," said Shores. "We lost an angel yesterday, and this world is a little less good today."

Sordid Lives co-star Leslie Jordan told PEOPLE in a statement, "Olivia courageously fought death but I prefer to remember the way she lived. She made a big impact within the arts and even bigger impact on her fans, friends and family around the world. I am honored to have been her friend and to have felt her love in a very personal way. Now 'Fly Away' to a better, more beautiful and restful place. Olivia, I will see you in the sweet by and by."

Newton-John's longtime friend Richard Marx shared several photos of the pair together on Twitter, writing, "My heart is broken. Rest now, sweet friend. You were as kind and loving a person as there's ever been. I'll miss you every day."

Marx's wife, Daisy Fuentes, also tweeted a tribute to the Grammy winner with a selfie of them together. "She was a childhood idol, a super talent, so brave, always elegant & one of the most beautiful souls I've ever met," wrote the 55-year-old actress and personality on Twitter. "RIP Olivia. Sending condolences, love & light to her family."

Musician Stephen Bishop posted a photo of himself presenting alongside Newton-John at the 1990 American Music Awards on Twitter, writing, "I am genuinely in shock right now, holding back tears. I was just notified that my sweet, kind, and shining star friend @olivianj has passed away."

RELATED: Olivia Newton-John's Life and Career in Photos

The 70-year-old "On and On" performer continued, "Over the years, she has always been so sweet to me. Her talent was immeasurable. I'll miss you, Olivia. -Love always, your pal Bish."

In a joint post on Instagram, fellow Aussies Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban captioned a photo with Newton-John, "

"Livvie brought the most divine light into the world… so much love, joy, inspiration and kindness... and we will always be hopelessly devoted to you ❤️"

Andy Cohen shared a video of Newton-John performing "Hopelessly Devoted to You" to his Instagram page alongside the caption, "Hopelessly Devoted to YOU, Olivia Newton-John. Rest In Peace, Queen. Thank you for the music."

Gabrielle Union shared her thoughts on the English performer's death via Twitter, revealing her love for Newton-John's work.

"'Grease' is my #1 movie of all time and made me a lifelong Olivia Newton-John fan. Me and my sister watched Xanadu more times than I could count," said the 49-year-old actress. "Sending so much love and prayers to a real gift of a woman and talent."

Dionne Warwick, who's recorded and performed with Newton-John several times, most recently for a 2006 duet titled "Wishin' and Hopin'," shared her reaction to the news on Twitter.

"Another angelic voice has been added to the Heavenly Choir. Not only was Olivia a dear friend, but one of the nicest people I had the pleasure of recording and performing with," wrote Warwick, 81. "I will most definitely miss her. She now Rests in the Arms of the Heavenly Father."

Jane Seymour, a friend of Newton-John's for more than 40 years, shared two photos of them together on Instagram and wrote a lengthy note about the loss. "I'm devastated to hear that my dear friend Olivia has passed," said the actress, 71. "She was always a great friend and confidant to me. Olivia inspired everyone with her positive attitude to life and unfailing desire to help others.⁣⁣"

She continued, "I had the privilege of meeting her whilst living with her sister Rona when I first moved to the US. We became fast and lifelong friends. She was not only a brilliant musician, actress, and singer but a wonderful mother, wife, and sister. ⁣⁣The world has lost one of its brightest lights.⁣⁣ I will never forget you Livvy.⁣⁣ Love always Jane."

George Takei penned a heartfelt tribute to the musician and actress, writing on Twitter, "We have lost a great, iconic artist in Olivia Newton-John, gone too soon from us at age 73. I trust she is now in the great Xanadu beyond. Know that we are forever hopelessly devoted to you, Olivia. Rest in song and mirth."

Singer and actress Lea Salonga, known as the voice of both Jasmine in 1998's Aladdin and the titular character in 1998's Mulan, posted a tweet in remembrance of Newton-John. "Rest In Peace, Olivia Newton-John. Hers was one of the voices of my childhood. Deepest condolences to everyone she loved and loved her," she wrote.

James Gunn, director of films including Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, wrote about his unique relationship with Newton-John and her work. "Really sad to hear about the passing of Olivia Newton-John. My first real crush as a kid," tweeted the filmmaker. "I loved Grease & her music & I coincidentally also bought & lived in for a while the wonderful home she built in Malibu. May she Rest In Peace."

Mia Farrow tweeted her reaction, writing, "Very sad that lovely, talented, brave Olivia Newton-John has died. I never got to meet her, but everyone says she was wonderful- always kind."

Kate Hudson shared a video of herself singing "Hopelessly Devoted to You" to her 3½-year old daughter Rani Rose, writing, "Olivia Newton-John❤️ There are a handful of people in my life who inspired me to lock myself in my bedroom and sing from the top of my lungs in the mirror. Mimicking every move she made, wishing I could hit those clean high notes and striving to try with my little rasp. What a lovely light of a human. She was an inspiration to me as I dreamed of what my performers life ahead may be. Thank you for sharing your light to the world as it moved and shaped little girls like me. May we all today sing for Olivia and celebrate her courageous years of fighting. Love and Light 💫"

Hugh Jackman paid tribute to his "first crush," writing on Instagram, "I'm devastated to hear the news that @therealonj has passed away. One of the great privileges of my life was getting to know her. Not only was she one of the most talented people I've known … she was one of the most open-hearted, generous and funny. She was a one-of-a-kind spirit. It's no secret Olivia was my first crush. I kissed her (poster) every night before bed. Her legacy will only grow stronger in the years to come. A fighter for healing from cancer that knows no bounds. I love you Olivia."

New Zealand-born Australian and American dancer Peta Murgatroyd posted about the news on her Instagram Story, writing, "This has done me over today. An Aussie icon and legend, there will never be another. This is so tragic. RIP the beloved Sandy."

RELATED: Olivia Newton-John's Daughter Chloe Lattanzi Pays Tribute to Late Actress with Touching Photos

Daniel Dae Kim took to Twitter and wrote about his admiration for the multi Platinum-selling artist: "Farewell with love to the legend who will forever be my first crush. Rest In Peace, Olivia Newton-John."

Actress Yvette Nicole Brown expressed a shocked reaction to Newton-John's death on Twitter. "Olivia Newton-John has died. That's it. I'm done guys. Heartbroken doesn't even BEGIN to cover it. I ADORED her," she wrote. "I hate this so much. She was only 73. What is going on?! #RIPOliviaNewtonJohn."

Underneath Easterling's post on Newton-John's Instagram page, Kelly Ripa commented, "what a loss. RIP to the loveliest lady @therealonj."

Julianne Hough, who portrayed Sandy in Fox's Grease: Live in 2016, posted several photos with Newton-John to Instagram alongside a sweet caption. "Like so many, Olivia has always been my hero," wrote the performer, 34. "Discovering her magnetic energy as an artist and actress came first but it was her heart that truly captured mine. Forever an icon and legend!"

Marlee Matlin, who starred alongside Newton-John in 1996's It's My Party, posted a photo of the film's cast on Twitter and penned a tribute to the icon: "I am SO saddened at the news of the passing of Olivia Newton-John. I remember being so star-struck when I met her at my first Hollywood gathering for Paramount. She was the sweetest and brightest light and I loved getting to know her on 'It's My Party.' RIP dear, sweet Olivia."

Jane Lynch, who performed "Physical" alongside Newton-John on Glee, reposted Marx's tweet and wrote, "ONJ. Angel."

Delta Goodrem, who played Newton-John in the biopic about her life, Olivia Newton-John: Hopelessly Devoted to You, wrote on Instagram that the "whole world will feel this heartbreak today because the entire world felt Olivia's unmatched light." She added, "A force for good. A force of nature. Strong and kind. my mentor, my friend, my inspiration, someone who always guided me… she was always there for me. Family to me. I don't have all the words I would like to say today but I hope everyone will join in celebrating our beloved Olivia, her heart, soul, talent, courage, grace…
I love you forever."

In a series of tweets, Mariah Carey recalled sharing the stage with Newton-John, whom she's admired since she "was a little girl," writing, "I first fell in love with Olivia's voice when I was a little girl and heard 'I Honestly Love You.' Songs like 'Magic,' 'Suddenly' and 'Have You Never Been Mellow' showcased her beautiful airy tone and signature sound. And THEN there was GREASE. I was obsessed."

Alongside photos of the pair smiling and singing together, the 53-year-old legendary vocalist continued, "I dressed up as Bad Sandy for Halloween in 5th grade and thought I was everything. Years later, THE Olivia Newton-John walked out onto my stage in Melbourne, Australia and we sang our hearts out together to 'Hopelessly Devoted to You.' This is a moment I will never ever forget."

Carey concluded, "I was also blessed to be in her presence on many other occasions and she was one of the kindest, most generous and lovely people I've ever met. She will be missed. She will be remembered. She will be loved. Olivia, I honestly love you."

In two respective statements posted to social media, ABBA's Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, spoke about their admiration for Newton-John, whom they competed against in the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest.

"What do you feel, what do you say when the nice, kindest and most loving woman leaves us to travel somewhere else," wrote Lyngstad, 76. "The heart aches to know Olivia's brave fight against an, in her case, invincible enemy. That she never gave up or complained about her situation, but instead told us her story so that we would understand and want to help others affected. I am grateful to have known a person like you Olivia and you will always be in my heart."

Fältskog, 72, wrote that she was "so sad to hear of Olivia's passing," before continuing: "A fine person has left us – and there are many of us who mourn her now… My thoughts go out to the family, and her music and personality will always remain in memory."

Kelsea Ballerini paid tribute to Newton-John by posting a cover of "Hopelessly Devoted to You" on social media. Filmed in her house, the country star captioned the clip, "olivia newton-john forever."

Mandy Moore shared a photo of Newton-John to her Instagram Story alongside the caption, "Thank you for the joy you brought countless people around the world."

In a post shared on Instagram, Kylie Minogue shared a photo of her and Newton-John at the 1988 Royal Bicentennial Concert and spoke to her love for the superstar. "Since I was ten years old, I have loved and looked up to Olivia Newton John. And, I always will. (Just like this picture @nfsaonline) She was, and always will be, an inspiration to me in so many, many ways. My deepest condolences to her family and loved ones. x ONJ4EVER," wrote the "Can't Get You Out of My Head" singer.

Nancy Sinatra took to Twitter and praised Newton-John's strength throughout her breast cancer journey. "I didn't know Olivia Newton-John personally but I admired her for the way she faced her health battles. Beautiful & strong, she fought to the end," wrote the singer and actress. "My heart goes out to her family & all who love her. It's just not fair. Godspeed, Olivia. We'll always be hopelessly devoted to you."

Sheryl Crow, a breast cancer survivor herself tweeted a photo of Newton-John from Grease and wrote, "Sad to hear of Olivia Newton-John's passing. She was a beautiful artist and a brave warrior as she battled breast cancer with grace. Rest In Peace, Olivia."

Peter Frampton, who both recorded with Newton-John and co-hosted the 1977 Rock Music Awards alongside her, posted a photo with the "You're the One That I Want" icon to Twitter alongside a sweet caption: "One of the most genuinely beautiful souls has left us. Olivia Newton-John was an amazing artist in every way. She was a dear friend to me and to all. Olivia is the definition of the phrase 'Down to earth'. I love you Liv."

Rebel Wilson, who worked with Newton-John on the 2011 romantic comedy A Few Best Men, posted a photo with the singer/actress and co-star Laura Brent on Instagram alongside a heartfelt caption. "@therealonj, you were the most gorgeous lady inside and out, you are a true Aussie icon and to play your daughter on screen in A FEW BEST MEN was beyond an honour," she wrote.

"Seeing you star in the huge Hollywood blockbuster GREASE with your natural accent was so instrumental to me as a little girl, helping me to believe that it was possible for an Aussie girl to star in huge international musicals," continued Wilson, 42. "You were the reason I auditioned for my high school production of GREASE at 15 - I was only in the chorus, but it was a start!"

Wilson — who has been open about her recent health journey — added that Newton-John, an advocate for breast cancer awareness and early detection, "tried to teach me about health years before I took it seriously."

"You were so kind to me and it was such a blessing to know you Olivia. I'll never forget us singing at the piano in our lunch break on set together - what a complete legend you are!" concluded Wilson. "I am so sad you are gone 💗 Love and Light always to you ONJ, Rebel xoxo."

Newton-John is survived by her daughter LattanziEasterling, 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.

With additional reporting by Lanford Beard, Liz McNeil and Dave Quinn