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Order of the Rising Sun honoree Olivia Newton-John dies aged 73

In this file photo taken on November 25, 1978 French singer Joe Dassin (R) and Australian actress and singer Olivia Newton-John record a TV show at the Studio des Buttes Chaumont in Paris. (AFP)
In this file photo taken on November 25, 1978 French singer Joe Dassin (R) and Australian actress and singer Olivia Newton-John record a TV show at the Studio des Buttes Chaumont in Paris. (AFP)
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09 Aug 2022 02:08:19 GMT9
09 Aug 2022 02:08:19 GMT9

Arab News Japan

DUBAI: Australian singer Olivia Newton-John, who gained worldwide fame as high-school sweetheart Sandy in the hit musical movie “Grease,” died Monday, her family said. She was 73.

Newton-John “passed away peacefully at her ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends,” said a statement from her husband John Easterling posted on her official social media accounts.

The Grease actress received the Order of the Rising Sun from the government of Japan in November last year for her contribution to developing musical culture in Japan and promoting friendly relations with Australia.

Newton-John was also the first foreign artist to perform in the prefecture of Fukushima in 2015, after the nuclear power plant disaster that occurred four years earlier.

When she received her award, Newton-John said in a taped message: “As an Australian I feel very honored. I heard that my music is so well loved by the people of Japan and to know that my cover of ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads‘ was used in a famous Japanese film and even appears in textbooks. Makes me feel very close to you all.”

She added: “I first visited Japan in 1972 and since then I’ve been back more than 10 times, one of my favorite countries and favorite people. A particularly memorable moment was my Pray for Fukushima concert in 2015. I was deeply touched by the resilience of the people affected by the disaster and it was a heart-warming experience.”

The singer’s career was successful as she won four Grammys, starred in hit movies and scored nearly 40 entries on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, including five No. 1s.

Her hit single, “Physical,” spent 10 weeks in the US charts in late 1981 and early 1982.

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