August 8, 2022 – Olivia Newton-John will forever be known for her feel-good ballads, sunny temper and starring role in the hit musical Fat. But the singer-songwriter wanted to be remembered for more than the love songs and the role that defined his decades-long career.

After her first battle with breast cancer more than a quarter century ago, Newton-John has used her celebrity status to help raise awareness of the disease, which affects more than 2 million women worldwide. . His efforts – including a charity walk on the Great Wall of China – have raised millions of dollars for a cancer research center that bears his name.

Newton-John, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, died Monday in California. The cause of death is not immediately known. She was 73 and is survived by her husband, John Easterling, and daughter Chloe Lattanzi.

“Olivia has been a beacon of triumphs and hope for over 30 years, sharing her journey with breast cancer,” her husband said. on Newton-John’s Instagram page. “Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to plant medicine and cancer research.”

Among all cancers, breast cancer is the leading cause of death among women, according to statistics from the World Health Organization. The disease is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, and some developed countries have the highest rates in the world. In the United States, it is estimated that one in eight women will contract the disease.

The Xanadu star was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992. She said doctors caught it early on because she was diligent about getting routine checkups. Ten years later, she celebrated the opening of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Center in Melbourne, Australia.

But the cancer came back.

In a September 2018 interview with the Australian Current Affairs program Sunday night, Newton-John revealed the cancer returned in 2013 and spread to his right shoulder. She had to cancel tours of the United States and Canada for treatment.

Rumors that Newton-John’s health had deteriorated surfaced in the summer of 2018 and intensified later that year. But in a short video message posted to her Facebook page in January 2019, she dismissed the dire reports, telling her fans: “I just want to say that the rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated. …and I’m doing great. I want to wish you all the happiest and healthiest 2019 possible.

In the Sunday night interview, Newton-John said she was confident she would win her final confrontation with the disease. Along with radiation therapy and a healthier diet, the popular singer and actress said she treats cancer “naturally” and uses homemade cannabis chews to relieve pain and help her sleep.

She said she sometimes felt scared and overwhelmed, and thinking about others who were also struggling with cancer kept her grounded.

“There are other people doing much, much worse than me,” Newton-John said. “I am [a] very privileged person and I am very aware of it. I mean, I live in this beautiful place, I have a wonderful husband, I have all the animals that I adore. I have an incredible career.

“I really have nothing to reproach myself for.”

Newton-John was born on September 26, 1948 in Cambridge, England. Her family moved to Melbourne, Australia when she was 5 years old. By age 15, she had formed an all-female musical group and was appearing on local television shows.

The first big break in her singing career came when she won a trip to London in a talent contest. Throughout the 1960s, Newton-John and a close friend traveled around Europe singing at army bases and clubs. By the time she auditioned for the role in Fat by the late 1970s, she had had a successful solo career and won several Grammy Awards.

Getting regular mammograms is key to catching breast cancer in its early stages, when it’s easiest to treat and the chances of a cure are much higher, says Nisha Unni, MD, breast cancer specialist at Harold C Simmons of UT Southwestern Medical Center. Comprehensive Cancer Center in Dallas. She says advances in screening technology over the past two decades – including 3D mammography – have helped doctors catch breast cancer much earlier, especially in young women.