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Olivia Newton-John: all the charitable work the Grease star did during her life

Olivia Newton-John: all the charitable work the Grease star did during her life

The Australian icon has been praised as a 'symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years' after she died at the age of 73.

Decorated and beloved Australian pop star-turned-philanthropist Olivia Newton-John died at her ranch in Southern California on Monday, aged 73.

Known best for her role in Grease (1978) alongside John Travolta, Newton-John had a wildly successful entertainment career.

She secured 10 top-10 hits, two number-one albums and four Grammy Awards.

But she also had a devotion to activism and philanthropy. 

Much of Newton-John's activism and philanthropy often pertained to health, as she herself battled and defeated breast cancer in 1992 before its reappearance in 2013. 

After the first diagnosis, Newton-John became a prominent campaigner. She actively supported Melbourne's Austin Hospital by setting up the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre, and promoted the LIV-KIT device for breast cancer detection. 

Following the loss of her daughter's best friend—Colette Chuda—to cancer in 1991, Newton-John helped form the Colette Chuda Environmental Fund in the United States, raising $45,000 for it at a reception she hosted.

Later in her philanthropic career, she led a three-week, 228km walk along the Great Wall of China, symbolising the steps cancer patients must take on their road to recovery.

Upon receiving her second cancer diagnosis, she called upon her native Australia to adopt the laws of the US state where she then lived, California, to allow the medicinal use of marijuana.

"My dream is that, in Australia soon, it will be available to all the cancer patients and people going through cancer that causes pain," she said, adding that despite the hardships she's faced, she had had 'an incredible career' and 'nothing to complain about'.

Newton-John's philanthropy did not go uncelebrated.

She received many prestigious honours in her life, including having been appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia (OA), a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Environment Programme, named a National Living Treasure by the National Trust of Australia and bestowed an Order of the British Empire (OBE) honour by Queen Elizabeth II.

Olivia Newton-John is survived by her daughter Chloe Lattanzi and husband John Easterling.

In confirming her death, Easterling revealed that Newton-John's final request was for donations to be made to the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, 'in lieu of flowers'.

The foundation funds research into plant-based medicine and holistic treatments for cancer. 

He wrote: "Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer.

"Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer."

Featured Image Credit: Allstar Picture Library Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo. Everett Collection Inc / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Celebrity, Australia