On Aug. 8, 2022, the world lost one of its brightest stars – Olivia Newton-John. She was a British-Australian performer best known for her work as an actress, singer and activist. The acclaimed woman won several awards over the course of her life and was honored by fans and critics alike. Among the family she left behind was her niece, Totti Goldsmith, who revealed her last conversation with her superstar aunt a few days before her passing.
Newton-John was born on Sept. 26, 1948, in England, before moving with her family to Australia when she was 6 years old. She had an early start in music, but superstardom would come when she was cast in the 1978 musical “Grease” opposite John Travolta.
Newton-John’s portrayal of an innocent Australian student pining for Travolta’s Danny Zuko catapulted the performer to fame and made her a household name, showing off her sweet yet powerful vocals and great acting chops. Even today, people are still singing the songs from the “Grease” soundtrack and dressing up as Danny and Sandy for costume parties.
While her follow-up film “Xanadu” would fail to achieve the same level of success as “Grease,” it would forever change her life. On the set, she met dancer Matt Lattanzi, and the two quickly hit it off. After six years of dating, Newton-John and Lattanzi tied the knot in December 1984, and the couple had their only child, daughter Chloe Rose Lattanzi, in 1986.
In 1992, Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer, starting her three-decades-long battle with the disease. After recovering, it returned again in 2013 and 2017.
In 2023, several months after Newton-John’s passing, Chloe opened up about her mother’s final days and her last words.
Newton-John had always been the personification of sunniness, optimism, hope and joy. And according to close family, she remained that way until her last days. Her niece Goldsmith, an actress and singer based in Melbourne, Australia, told 9Now that the family had been preparing to make her final days as comfortable as possible.
“It’s not a shock, we’ve known how sick she’s been, especially the last five days,” she said. “John (Easterling) her husband, has kept us in the loop and I’ve been talking to the beautiful Chloe a lot.”
Goldsmith said John Easterling was able to arrange a video call between the two of them. “I told her all the things I needed to say,” Goldsmith, who is the daughter of Newton-John’s sister Rona, said. She added that her aunt’s last few days were made harder by medical complications:
“It wasn’t just the cancer that got her, it was other complications, being in a hospital and with a very susceptible immune system. She got secondary infections. She really went down in the past five, six days.”
Even cannabinoids, which Newton-John had advocated for previously as part of her cancer treatment, could not reduce the pain.
“It’s really helped her, but later on it wasn’t enough. She’s really struggled with a lot of pain,” Goldsmith said.
She also recalled the time she spent with Newton-John while she was receiving treatment at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute in Melbourne.
“She was really skinny and really unwell and I said to her, ‘Are you afraid of dying?’” she said. “She said, ‘Plonker,’ which was my nickname, she said, ‘I’m not, I’m not afraid, I’ve done more in my life than I could have ever imagined.’ She honestly never imagined her life would be how it was.”