John Travolta Leads Hollywood’s Tributes to Olivia Newton-John

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta.
Photo by Paramount Pictures/Fotos International/Getty Images

Olivia Newton-John passed away at the age of 73 this morning. According to a post from her official Instagram account, she was surrounded by friends and family at her Southern California ranch. A cause of death was not mentioned, but the post mentions her decades-long battle against breast cancer.

Born the granddaughter of a a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and the daughter of an actual MI5 agent, Newton-John’s family moved from England to Australia when she was just six. She began persuing a music career as a teenager and regularly appeared on local television. She eventually moved back to the UK for her career and ended up representing the country one year in the Eurovision song contest. But she didn’t hit it big until she carved out a niche in country music. Her 1975 album, Have You Never Been Mellow, was a number-one hit in America, but it wasn’t until 1978 that she truly became a household name thanks to her role as Sandy in Grease, opposite John Travolta.

Three years later, she redefined her image once again with the suggestive pop hit “Physical.” The song spent more time atop the Billboard Hot 100 than any other single in the ‘80s, and both its sound and its aerobics-themed video helped define the aesthetic of the decade. She’d eventually turn the Physical album into one of the earliest “visual albums” by recording videos for each song that aired as part of a primetime special on ABC.

Hollywood and the recording industry paid tribute to Newton-John on Monday—including Travolta, who remained close with Newton-John years after their Grease days. “My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better,” Travolta wrote on Instagram. “Your impact was incredible. I love you so much. We will see you down the road and we will all be together again. Yours from the first moment I saw you and forever! Your Danny, your John!”