The “Grease” star’s niece, Tottie Goldsmith, recently spoke with Australia’s “A Current Affair” news program and revealed that Newton-John’s family has been formally offered a state funeral by the nation and that they plan on accepting the gracious honor.
“We will, on behalf of not just our family, but I think Australia needs it. She was so loved,” shared Goldsmith, 59, who is the daughter of Newton-John’s late sister, Rona, who died after a battle with brain cancer in 2013. “I think our country needs it so we’re going to accept it.”
The offer was extended by Daniel Andrews, the premier of the Australian state of Victoria, who confirmed to News.com.au. that Victoria would conduct a state funeral to celebrate Newton-John’s “music and film and all the other amazing contributions that she made” to the world.
“She took her cancer journey and used that to save lives and change lives, and that’s just a deeply impressive thing,” Andrews told the outlet. “The research that’s done there [at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre], the treatment, the care, the love and support that is central to that place is a lasting legacy to the person that she was.”
Newton-John’s husband, John Easterling, broke the news of her passing Monday morning in a heartfelt tribute shared to Instagram, writing alongside a photo of the actress, “Dame Olivia Newton-John (73) passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends.”
“Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer,” the statement continued. “Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made in her memory to the @onjfoundation.”
Newton-John’s long-term battle with cancer began in 1992 when she went public with her first diagnosis of breast cancer. She went on to fund the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia and had been a fierce advocate for cancer treatment and research.
For more on the actress’ life and legacy, and the outpouring of love for Newton-John in the wake of her death, see the video below.