Singer and actress Olivia Newton-John, who died last year, was honored with an emotional funeral service in her hometown of Melbourne. Family and friends, as well as numerous fans, attended the state commemoration event early Sunday evening (local time) in Hamer Hall.
World stars like Mariah Carey, Pink, Dolly Parton and Hugh Jackman sent video messages. "She was such a wonderful force of nature, she was funny, kind, warm and talented," Elton John said in his message, praising her "courage and optimism."
The British woman, who became world famous with the musical adaptation "Grease" at the end of the 1970s, died in August at the age of 73 in the US state of California after a decade-long battle with cancer. As a child, she emigrated with her family to Melbourne, where she grew up.
Choir sings national anthem
Australian singer Delta Goodrem performed some of the artist's most famous songs at the funeral. The 38-year-old embodied Newton-John in a two-part biopic ("Hopelessly Devoted to You") in 2018. A choir from her former school, Christchurch Grammar, sang the national anthem in her honor. Fans held up photos of Newton-John outside Hamer Hall, some in tears.
"I feel like a little girl lost without her mother," said Newton-John's tearful daughter Chloe Lattanzi. "She was my safe place, my guide, my biggest fan and the earth under my feet." Her husband John Easterling said: "She was the bravest woman I have ever met."
It's been over 40 years since Newton-John caused a sensation with her cheeky performance in the hit film musical "Grease". In 1978, as sandy, curly haired Sandy, she turned John Travolta's head in the role of the rebellious Danny - with a curly lard and sideburns. She later campaigned tirelessly for breast cancer survivors, raising money for research and treatment.