Olivia Newton-John entertained millions, upon millions, of fans during her legendary and iconic career that spanned seven decades. From her beautiful music to her exemplary acting career and incredible work as an activist, there wasn’t much that Newton-John couldn’t do – even as she entered her 70s.
That’s what made her sudden death on August 8, 2022, such a tragedy. She was initially diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and had three separate battles with the disease – it came back in 2013 and for a third time in 2017, when it was upgraded to stage IV after metastasizing to her lower back. She was 73.
A small, private memorial was held in her honor in September 2022, but the State of Victoria later offered the Newton-John family a state funeral, which was accepted by her niece. That memorial is scheduled to take place at Hamer Hall on February 26, 2023 – a week from now. Her legacy will continue to live on.
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To celebrate her incredible career that touched millions of people around the world, her family recently released a beautiful duet she recorded with Dolly Parton just a few months before she passed. Together, the two legendary voices sang one of Parton’s biggest hits, ‘Jolene,’ and it’s definitely worth a listen.
The day after Newton-John’s death was announced, Parton – along with many others – took to Instagram to honor her late friend. “So sad to have lost my special friend Olivia Newton-John,” said Parton in the post. “So happy that our lives crossed paths. I know her voice is singing beautifully with the angels.”
You can listen to their new duet, which was released on Feb. 16, below:
In an exclusive interview with Hoda Kotb of TODAY, Newton-John’s widower – John Easterling – spoke about the duet and what it meant to his wife to share her gift with the world. He called it a ‘gorgeous’ duet that embodied her close-knit relationship with Dolly, who he called a ‘wonderful person’ and ‘good friend.’
“She, as I do, (felt) like everyone has a very unique and special gift. I mean, for her it was her voice. She knew that. That was a gift. She understood it was a gift, and she gave that very generously,” he continued – adding that she continued to give that gift generously up until her death. “That was just part of her gift.”
Easterling Still Talks to Olivia Newton-John ‘Out Loud’
In the interview, John Easterling opened up about his grieving process as he continues to adjust to life without Olivia Newton-John. He was accompanied by Chloe Lattanzi, the daughter of Newton-John – she had Chloe in 1986 with her first husband, Matt Lattanzi. She didn’t marry Easterling until 2008.
At one point in the interview, he was asked, “When do you feel her the most now?”, to which he replied, “Late at night, early in the morning.” He went on to explain that he’ll ‘speak to her out loud’ as he walks around the house or throws the balls around for his dogs – you can hear the emotion in his voice.
Since her death, Easterling has kept her Instagram page alive with memories of the two – including a long and heartfelt message two days after her death. “Our love for each other transcends our understanding. Every day we expressed our gratitude for this love that could be so deep, so real, so natural,” he wrote.
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“At Olivia’s deepest essence she was a healer using her mediums of song, of words, of touch. She was the most courageous woman I’ve ever known. Her bandwidth for genuinely caring for people, for nature and all creatures almost eclipses what is humanely possible,” he continued. May she rest in peace!
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