Richard Wilkins has played the heartbreaking message Olivia Newton-John’s daughter Chloe Lattanzi left him after the death of her mother aged 73.
The actress and singer died peacefully at her home in Southern California surrounded by family and friends on Monday morning. Her husband John Easterling announced her death on her Facebook page.
“Chloe Lattanzi, Olivia’s daughter, sent me a lovely text this morning which I played and cried again,” Richard revealed on Wednesday’s episode of the Today show as he held back tears.
This is the heartbreaking message that Olivia Newton-John’s daughter Chloe Lattanzi left to now-Entertainment editor Richard Wilkins (pictured) following the death of her mother aged 73
“And I said to her, ‘I would never do it without your permission. Would you like me to share your beautiful message with her many friends and fans on the air?”
“And she said, ‘Yes, please. Tell them how much their love helps me deal with this. I want to be a link for them. Give light, thank you, gratitude. I hold you in my heart.”
“Hi Richard, this is Chloe, I just saw your beautiful tribute to my mum,” the message read.
“I just wanted to hold you. I saw how much you loved her and I just want you to know that she is free and pain free now and the whole family is here together.
The actress and singer died peacefully at her home in Southern California surrounded by family and friends on Monday morning. Her husband John Easterling announced her death on her Facebook page. Pictured with his daughter Chloe
“She lets the sun shine and the dogs run around and smile and the horses gallop
“I just want you to know that she is pain free now and has been fighting so hard and I have been with her every step of the way
“I just felt your love mommy and I both care about you, care about you so much.
Chloe ended the message with: “Love you my friend, thank you for doing this.”
Just months before Olivia’s death, Chloe, 36, vowed to stand by her mother “always and forever” while sharing a gallery of pictures of the couple on Facebook
It comes just days after Wilkins, 68, broke down in tears as his final interview with Olivia aired.
Today host Karl Stefanovic left his place on the podium to comfort his colleague while wiping away tears.
“I didn’t want to do that,” Wilkins cried.
Richard Wilkins broke down on Tuesday’s Today Show while discussing the death of his longtime girlfriend and Australian icon, Olivia Newton-John
The actress and singer (pictured with longtime boyfriend Richard Wilkins) died Monday morning at her home in Southern California
“It’s fine,” Stefanovic said while hugging the presenter. “This woman was extraordinary.”
Wilkins was close to tears early on in the show as he first broke the heartbreaking news of Olivia’s death.
“Dickie, I’m so sorry for your loss,” Stefanovic said.
Host Karl Stefanovic left his place on the podium to comfort his colleague, who was wiping his eyes
“I was just kind of stunned,” Wilkins said to Karl and Ally. “I didn’t really know what to think”
“It’s our loss,” Wilkins replied. “The world lost a beautiful person today.”
He then revealed the devastating early morning call he received about the message.
“I was just kind of stunned,” he told Stefanovic and co-host Allison Langdon.
“You know, all the data and facts and numbers and things just disappear and I just felt completely, just completely numb. I didn’t really know what to think.’
Olivia Newton-John, left, during one of her final public appearances of 2019. The actress died Monday at the age of 73. She is shown on the right in her most iconic role in Grease in 1978
Speaking about Nova’s Fitzy and Wippa on Tuesday morning, Wilkins opened up about his very first encounter with the Grease star.
“I think I was hosting some kind of meet-and-greet session, she must have been promoting a record or something,” he recalled.
“And that was, I think, the first time I’ve met her and we just hit it off like a house on fire on this one.”
Wilkins said he’s been a fan of Olivia his entire life and “never heard a bad word about her.”
“She was never conspicuous. She was never a show-off. You never see them on the social sites. She would just, she was just so dignified,” he added.
“And such a noble, beautiful, gorgeous, wonderful wife and a great mother to (daughter) Chloe (Lattanzi).”
Olivia’s husband broke the news of the star’s death in a heartbreaking Facebook post on Monday morning after decades of bravely and extraordinarily publicly battling cancer.
Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in the legendary 1978 film Grease that catapulted their careers. He was among the first to pay tribute to her on Monday
“Dame Olivia Newton-John, 73, died peacefully this morning at her Southern California ranch surrounded by family and friends,” Mr. Easterling wrote.
“We ask everyone to respect the privacy of the family at this very difficult time.
“A symbol of triumph and hope for over 30 years, Olivia shares her journey with breast cancer.
“Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicines continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund dedicated to research into plant medicines and cancer.”
Newton-John and John Travolta at the 40th anniversary of Grease in 2018 (left) and (right) promoting their 2012 Christmas album
The actress famously beat breast cancer twice but was re-diagnosed in 2017.
She has spent the last few years at home campaigning for animal rights and raising money for her charity.
In a haunting interview with The Guardian in 2020, she said of the disease: “It’s been a part of my life for so long.
“I had a feeling something was wrong. It’s worrying about when it’ll come back, but I thought, ‘I’ll get through it one more time’.
Olivia Newton-John with her daughter Chloe Lattanzi, left and right, when Chloe was a child. She suffered multiple miscarriages before giving birth to Chloe in 1986