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Featured Image Credit: Today/Channel Nine. Richard Wilkins/Instagram.
Australian morning show host Richard Wilkins has broken down on live television as he paid tribute to his longtime friend, songstress and icon Olivia Newton-John.
Tears streamed down Wilkins' face as the tribute played out, only hours after the Australian star's death was revealed to the world.
Newton-John died at her ranch in California at the age of 74, following a battle with breast cancer that spanned decades.
She was first diagnosed in 1992 and went into remission, however the cancer returned twice in 2013 and in 2017.
Newton-John announced she was battling Stage 4 breast cancer in October 2021.
Wilkins admitted to his co-hosts Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon that her inner circle knew her time was edging closer, but that still did not dull the shock of losing his friend.
"A lot of people are texting each other this morning," the 68-year-old said. "Delta [Goodrem] said, 'My heart’s broken' … That’s the way it is. Nobody was prepared for this."
Wilkins added through sobs: "Everybody knew it was coming and Olivia’s health had been declining in recent times, but it’s still such a great shock."
The veteran television host told his co-hosts that he had received news of his friend's death in the early hours of Tuesday (August 9) morning.
"I was just sort of numb. I just lay there," he recounted.
"You know, all the dates and facts and figures and things just disappear and I just felt completely numb, I didn’t really know what to think."
Wilkins, along with the cast and crew of the Today show, haven't been the only ones to pay tribute to the Aussie icon in the wake of the tragic news.
John Travolta took to social media to pen a touching tribute to his Grease co-star.
"My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better," Travolta said.
"Your impact was incredible. I love you so much. We will see you down the road and we will all be together again."
He added: "Yours from the first moment I saw you and forever! Your Danny, your John."
Newton-John hit the big time alongside Travolta in the 1978 high school classic, where she played Sandy alongside Travolta's Danny.
Many of the singer's fans have taken to social media to offer their condolences to her family.
One said: "This one hurts deeply. My inner 11 year self is shattered."
Echoing the shock, another commented: "Rest In Peace Olivia Newton-John. Fly high in Greased Lightning."
"RIP Olivia Newton-John - a generation of '70s kids will never forget you," put a third.