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John Kidman

Tributes flow for ‘incredible’ Olivia

Tributes are flowing for beloved Australian entertainer and international star Olivia Newton-John following her death aged 73.

The British-born, Melbourne-raised performer died peacefully in her sleep at her home in California, according to a social media post from husband John Easterling.

The singer and actress, who is best known for her role alongside John Travolta in the smash movie musical Grease, had endured a recurring battle with breast cancer.

Travolta was among the first to pay tribute to his former co-star, posting on Instagram: “My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better. Your impact was incredible. I love you so much.”

The impact of Newton-John’s passing hit hard among her Australian fans and peers on Tuesday.

Singer Delta Goodrem, who played Newton-John in a 2018 biopic, wrote on Instagram that the star was both a mentor and a friend.

“The whole world will feel this heartbreak today because the entire world felt Olivia’s unmatched light,” she said.

“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.”

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles told ABC radio it was a “really sad day for Australia”.

“I think for people of my generation who grew up with Grease, it’s one of these moments where you feel like an era has come to an end and the world is a little emptier,” he said.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd posted on Twitter: “This is really sad news. Really sad.”

“A great Australian woman. And a great advocate for global cancer research. Taken from her family far too early. Vale Olivia.”

Ex-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull also paid tribute, writing on Twitter: “Thank you Olivia Newton-John for your remarkable life.”

“You lit up our lives with music and dance and you saved so many lives with your passionate … advocacy for cancer research and treatment.”

Newton-John was admitted to the Australian Recording Industry Association Hall of Fame in 2002 and she was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2019.

Veteran Seven Netowrk entertainment report Peter Ford described her death as Australia’s “Princess Diana moment”.

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