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‘Skinny and unwell’: Poignant details of Olivia Newton-John’s last days

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Discussions are continuing with Olivia Newton-John family about a state funeral for the Australian music star, who died earlier this week.

British-born, Melbourne-raised Newton-John died in her sleep at her California home on Monday aged 73.

Her niece, actor Tottie Goldsmith, told the Nine network on Tuesday night that the family would accept the Victorian government’s offer of a state funeral.


“On behalf of not just our family but I think Australia needs it – she’s so loved. I think our country needs it, so we’re going to accept it,” she said.

Victorian Deputy Premier Jacinta Allan said on Wednesday discussions for the special service were continuing.

“The family is grieving the loss of an incredible woman and we just need to give them some time and space to work through those matters,” she said on Wednesday.

Tottie Goldsmith remembers her aunt, Olivia Newton-John

Goldsmith, whose mother was Newton-John’s sister, wept as she appeared on A Current Affair on Tuesday night to remember her aunt. She said the Grease star star deteriorated and became “really skinny and unwell” in her final days.

“It’s not a shock, we’ve known how sick she’s been, especially in the last five days,” she told host Tracy Grimshaw.

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“John [Easterling], her husband, has kept us in the loop and I’ve been talking to the beautiful Chloe (Lattanzi, Newton-John’s daughter) a lot.”

Goldsmith revealed how she said her final goodbye to her aunt over a video call earlier this week.

“I couldn’t get to America in time and I wanted to say goodbye, so I asked [Mr Easterling] if he could hold the phone up to her ear, but he got me on FaceTime so I managed to see her,” she said.

“I told her all the things I needed to say.

“She was leaving us… but I could feel like she got it.”

Goldsmith said the family had been “optimistic” about Newton-John’s health up until recently. But her weakened immune system, as well as a three-decade battle with cancer, contributed to her debilitating condition.

“She got secondary infections and she really went down in the past five, six days,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ms Lattanzi, Newton-John’s only daughter, has shared a tribute to her on Instagram.

“You are my lighthouse mama. My safe place. My heart space. It has been my honour and continues to be my honour to be your baby and best friend,” she wrote.

“You are an angel on earth and everyone touched by you has been blessed. I love you forever my life giver, my teacher, my mama.”

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She also shared photos of herself and her mother.

Melbourne landmarks – including Flinders Street Station, the Arts Centre, the MCG and other sporting venues – were lit up in pink on Tuesday night to mark Newton-John’s contribution to cancer awareness and research.

The performer, who was best known for her role alongside John Travolta in the smash movie musical Grease, endured a recurring battle with breast cancer.

Premier Daniel Andrews said her generosity saved lives and her advocacy provided hope for others.

“She took her cancer journey and used that to save lives and change lives, and that’s just a deeply impressive thing,” he said.

Austin Health, home of Melbourne’s Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Centre, said it was a particularly sad day at the facility and staff were planning a memorial service.

Adelaide also lit up its entertainment centre in pink on Tuesday.

Travolta was among the first to pay tribute to his former co-star, while Australian music guru Molly Meldrum said her passion for life was unwavering.

“Tonight, the stars will shine a little brighter and I am heartbroken,” he said.

-with AAP

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