After a 30-year battle with breast cancer, Olivia Newton-John died at age 73 on Monday.
The “Grease” actress and singer publicly battled breast cancer since 1992, enduring a partial mastectomy, nine months of chemotherapy and breast reconstruction.
Newton-John — who became an advocate for breast cancer detection — was diagnosed again in 2013 but privately battled it, only revealing in 2018 that it had come back in 2017.
The Australian actress announced she had been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer that had metastasized to the base of her spine.
The “Physical” singer opened up over the years about how she dealt with the treatments and managed her pain, including openly talking about using cannabis oil after being introduced to it by her husband, John Easterling.
“I really believe the cannabis has made a huge difference,” she told “60 Minutes Australia” in 2019. “If I don’t take the drops, I can feel the pain, so I know it’s working.”
“People have this vision from the ’60s of people just sitting around and getting stoned,” she told “Today” in 2017. “It’s not about that. This plant is a healing plant. I think we need to change the vision of what it is because it helped me greatly and it helps with pain and inflammation.”
Newton-John said she started using cannabis after she fractured her sacrum in September 2018, resulting in her learning to walk again and being in excruciating pain. She first treated it with morphine, but weaned herself off by using cannabis, upping it slowly until she was 100% off the opioid.
“I’m totally off painkillers, I’m totally off morphine, and I attribute that to the cannabis because it was able to take over with the pain,” she told UK-based You Magazine in March 2021.
Newton-John used her illness to help others, even opening her own public hospital — the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia — in 2012. She raised money for the center by auctioning memorabilia from “Grease” — including the famous leather outfit she wore in the film, an item that sold for $405,000.
Newton-John and her husband founded the Newton-John Foundation in 2020 to fund research into the ways cannabis and other botanicals could help people.
The ’70s pop icon credits beating cancer for the first time through not only chemotherapy but also working on her overall holistic approach to wellness — which her treatment center offers — as well as positive thinking.
After her cancer came back a third time, the actress said she told doctors she didn’t want to know how much time she had to live.
“When you’re given a cancer diagnosis or a scary honest diagnosis, you’re suddenly given a possibility of a time limit,” she explained to “60 Minutes Australia.” “If somebody tells you, ‘You have six months to live,’ very possibly you will because you believe that. So for me, psychologically, it’s better not to have any idea of what they expect or what the last person that has what you have lived, so I don’t, I don’t tune in.”
The “Grease” legend died at her ranch in Southern California Monday morning, surrounded by family and friends following a long battle with cancer.
Newton-John’s death was announced on her official Facebook page in a statement on Monday.
“Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer,” it read. “Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer.”