There was laughter and tears as thousands gathered to remember the life of Olivia Newton-John.
Sunday’s state memorial service at Melbourne’s Hamer Hall came six months after the acclaimed performer and activist died aged 73.
She had been living with breast cancer for 20 years.
Newton-John should be remembered as a courageous person who genuinely cared about those around her, husband John Easterling said.
“Every day with Olivia was supernatural. Every day with Olivia was a bit of magic,” he told the memorial service.
“At her most difficult times, she always had the spirit, the humour and the willpower to move things into the light.”
Newton-John’s daughter Chloe Lattanzi said her heart was broken in two.
“The other half is with my mamma,” she said. “I know she is holding it for me until we meet again.”
Australian performers, dignitaries and fans packed Hamer Hall for the service, while international stars Dolly Parton, Mariah Carey and Sir Cliff Richard were among those who sent video tributes.
Delta Goodrem, who played Newton-John in a 2018 miniseries, also held back tears as she performed a medley of the singer’s greatest hits including Let’s Get Physical and Xanadu.
Newton-John moved to Melbourne from the UK at a young age and showed an early passion for performance.
Her big break came when she played the role of Sandy in the 1978 film Grease.
The film, featuring hits including You’re The One That I Want and Summer Nights, became the soundtrack for a generation and remains one of the most successful musicals of all time.
Newton-John’s career spanned more than 60 years, during which she made 28 studio and six live albums.
She won four Grammys and had numerous number-one hits, selling more than 100 million records.
Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and began fundraising for research and promoting cancer awareness.
A treatment and research hub in Melbourne, the Olivia Newton-John Wellness and Research Centre, opened in 2012 and its services have helped thousands.
“Olivia was a visionary,” the centre’s Debbie Shiell told the memorial service.
“What seemed so obvious to us now was actually ground-breaking at the time.”
In 2019, Newton-John was appointed as a Companion of the Order of Australia and also named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
(Australian Associated Press)