Olivia Newton-John will receive a state memorial service in Australia
Olivia Newton-John, the singer and “Grease” star who died Monday in the United States, will be given a state memorial service in Australia, Victorian state Premier Dan Andrews announced Thursday.
In a Twitter post, Andrews said he had spoken with Newton-John’s family and had accepted the offer of a state ceremony. “It will be more of a concert than a funeral — fitting for a Victorian who lived such a rich and generous life,” Andrews said. Details are yet to be finalized.
Newton-John’s niece Totti Goldsmith previously told CNN affiliate Nine Network that Australians wanted Newton-John to have a state funeral. “I think Australia needs this,” Goldsmith said through tears. “She is very dear.”
Born in the UK, Newton-John moved to Australia at the age of 5 and soon became one of the country’s most popular celebrities.
Several Australian landmarks, including the Sydney Opera House, Optus Stadium in Perth and Flinders Street railway station in Melbourne, were lit up in pink this week after the artist died aged 73 at her farm in Southern California.
Andrews said lighting the buildings in pink is “a gesture to remember Olivia Newton John and her enormous contribution to cancer awareness, research and treatment.”
Newton-John survived two bouts of breast cancer, one in the early 1990s, the other in 2017. In September 2018, she revealed that she was once again battling cancer, this time at the base of her spine.
Despite her struggles, Newton-John maintained a positive outlook.
“I believe that when you go through something as dramatic as cancer, something positive comes out of it,” she wrote on the website of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre, which opened in Melbourne in 2012. .
“With more and more people being diagnosed with cancer every day, I believe we are in a world desperate for a cure and I am committed to doing what I can to help.”
After her death, the organization said in a statement that Newton-John’s “generous support and gift gave hope and changed the lives of thousands of cancer patients.”
Newton-John’s death drew an outpouring of grief from fans who followed her career from “Grease” to her Las Vegas concert residency, while those who worked with her throughout the years shared memories and condolences on social media.
Newton-John’s memorial service will be the second state farewell for an Australian singer this month. The Victorian government is holding a state funeral for Judith Durham, lead singer of The Seekers, who died on August 5 aged 79.