There were laughter and tears as thousands gathered to remember the life of Olivia Newton-John.
Sunday’s state-run memorial service at Melbourne’s Hummer Hall came six months after the acclaimed performer and activist died at the age of 73.
She had been battling breast cancer for 20 years.
Her husband, John Easterling, said Newton-John should be remembered as a brave man who truly cared about those around him.
“Every day with Olivia was supernatural. Every day with Olivia was a little bit magical,” he said at the memorial service.
“During her most difficult times, she always had the spirit, the humor, and the will to brighten things up.”
Newton-John’s daughter, Chloe Rattanzi, said her heart had split in two.
“The other half is with mom,” she said. “I know she’s holding it for me until we meet again.”
Australian performers, dignitaries and fans packed Hamer Hall for service, while international stars Dolly Parton, Mariah Carey, Sir Cliff Richard and more also delivered video tributes.
Delta Goodrem, who played Newton-John in the 2018 miniseries, also held back tears as she performed a medley of the singer’s biggest hits, including Let’s Get Physical and Xanadu.
Newton-John moved to Melbourne from England at an early age and developed an early passion for performing.
Her big break came when she played Sandy in the 1978 film Grease.
Featuring hits like “You’re The One That I Want” and “Summer Nights,” the film has become the soundtrack for a generation and one of the most successful musicals of all time.
Newton-John’s career spanned over 60 years, during which time he made 28 studio albums and 6 live albums.
She has won four Grammy Awards, had numerous number one hits, and sold over 100 million records.
Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and started fundraising for research and raising cancer awareness.
Opened in 2012, the Olivia Newton John Wellness and Research Center is Melbourne’s center of treatment and research, and its services have helped thousands of people.
“Olivia was a visionary,” center Debbie Seal said at the memorial service.
“What seems obvious now was groundbreaking at the time.”
In 2019, Newton-John was appointed Companion of the Order of Australia and Commander of the Order of the British Empire.