Other Australian attractions including Optus Stadium in Perth and Melbourne’s Flinders Street train station lit up pink on Tuesday night in memory of the actor, who was born in the UK but went on to become one of Australia’s most beloved celebrities. Victorian Prime Minister Dan Andrews said The gesture was made “to commemorate Olivia Newton John and her tremendous contribution to the education, research and treatment of cancer”.
Newton-John’s image was also beamed to the side of Fed Square, an arts and culture hub in Melbourne city centre.
Newton-John survived two bouts of breast cancer, one in the early 1990s, the other in 2017. In September 2018, she announced that she was battling cancer again, this time at the base of her spine.
Despite their struggles, Newton-John maintained a positive attitude.
“I believe when you go through something difficult, even something as dramatic as cancer, something positive will come out of it,” she wrote on the website of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Center, which opened in Melbourne in 2012.
“As more and more people are affected by cancer every day, I believe we find ourselves in a world desperate for a cure and I am committed to doing whatever I can to help.”
After her death, the organization said in a statement that Newton-John’s “generous support and gift brought hope and transformed the lives of thousands of cancer patients.”
Hours after her death, Andrews said the state would be speaking to Newton-John’s family about the possibility of a state funeral. Newton-John’s niece, Tottie Goldsmith, later told CNN affiliate Nine Network that they planned to give her consent.
“I think Australia needs it,” Goldsmith said through tears. “She is so loved. And I think our country needs it, so we’re going to accept that.”
Details of the funeral are yet to be announced or confirmed by the Prime Minister’s Office.
If a state funeral is held, it will be the second offered for an Australian singer this month. Organized by the Victorian Government a state funeral for Judith Durham, lead singer of The Seekers, who died on August 5 at the age of 79.