Olivia Newton-John: Australia pays tribute to the ‘force of nature’ performer

Thousands of people have gathered in Melbourne to pay their respects to the late Australian actress and singer Olivia Newton-John at a state memorial.

The 73-year-old died in the United States in August after a long battle with breast cancer.

Newton-John was best known for her role as Sandy in the 1978 film Grease, as well as for musical hits like Physical.

Her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi, has said that her heart is “broken in two”.

“I stand here before you so desperately wanting to feel strong and confident and speak eloquently, but the truth is, I feel like a little girl lost without her mother,” Ms Lattanzi said as she fought back tears at the Hamer Hall service.

“She was my safe haven, my guide, my biggest supporter, and the ground beneath my feet.”

John Easterling, Newton-widower, John’s became emotional while speaking about his late wife.

“We’d both had some difficult times in our lives, as everyone has, and we’re just talking about how lucky we were to have found each other,” he explained.

“Every day with Olivia was extraordinary. Every day with Olivia was a magical experience.”

Dannii Minogue, a singer, stated that Newton-John was the reason she began performing and that the news of her death had yet to sink in.

Other celebrities, including Sir Elton John, Mariah Carey, and Pink, paid tribute to the late star in video messages played to the crowd at the memorial.

Sir Elton called her a “wonderful force of nature,” and Dolly Parton, who performed with Newton-John on several occasions, said she considered her a friend as well as a fellow performer.

“Olivia, to quote one of your songs, I truly love you,” Parton said.

The service concluded with a medley of Newton-John hits performed by Australian singer Delta Goodrem.

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