Olivia Newton-John will be given a special send-off in her native Australia, it has been announced.
The State Premier of Victoria in Australia where Newton-John spent most of her childhood has confirmed that the star’s family had accepted his offer of a state funeral.
Daniel Andrews revealed he had liaised with the family via Newton-John’s niece, TV actress Tottie Goldsmith.
“I can update that I’ve spoken with Tottie Goldsmith this morning and she, on behalf of the family, have accepted my offer of a state service,” he said.
“This will be much more of a concert than a funeral, I think it will be a celebration of such a rich and generous life.
“As I said the other day, Olivia Newton-John was a very special person and to take her cancer journey and to turn that into more research, better treatment, better care and this focus on wellness, is such an amazing legacy and that’s why I think we all feel the pain of her passing.
“There will be further discussions, those discussions have started today, but there will be further discussions in my department and the family about what’s appropriate,” he said.
“I think giving Melburnians and Victorians and indeed people who travel from other parts of the country and maybe even the world to be here to celebrate such an important, rich and generous life — that was the right thing to do.”
“And I must say, it’s very clear to me the family were quite touched by the prospect of Victorians being able to come together and celebrate Olivia’s life.”
The death of the Grease! Star at the age of 73 on Monday has prompted an outpouring of grief from her co-stars including John Travolta, and fans across the world, moved not just by her music and films, but also by her tireless efforts to raise money and awareness for breast cancer charities, following her own diagnosis of the disease in the early 1990s.
Newton-John was born in the UK but moved to Melbourne, Victoria, as a child. Her family will be holding a private funeral for her in the US, where she died at her ranch in Southern California.