TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — As people across the world mourn the death of actress, singer and activist Olivia Newton-John, a nonprofit organization and health care facility in the Tampa Bay area is remembering her for her work in the fight against cancer.
Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa released a statement Monday evening recognizing Newton-John for her work as a health care advocate.
“Olivia was an incredible friend of the cancer center, a friend to me, an international figure in the fight against cancer, and a treasure and inspiration to her many fans all over the world,” Moffitt’s founder, H. Lee Moffitt, said in a statement.
Newton-John died Monday morning at the age of 73, her husband John Easterling announced in a Facebook post. According to the post, she died at her California ranch surrounded by family members and friends.
“Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer,” Easterling wrote. “Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer.”
Newton-John was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, and shared her battle with cancer publicly for three decades.
The singer and actress best known for playing Sandy in the 1978 film “Grease” joined Moffitt Cancer Center’s board of advisors in 2009. According to Moffitt, the board of advisors is “an appointed board whose primary role is to further the mission and objectives of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute by serving as advocates for the institution on a national level.”
“The board includes prominent individuals from very diverse backgrounds across the United States,” Moffit’s website says. “All individuals have one common interest that they share, and that is Moffitt’s mission to ‘contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer.'”
Moffitt said in its Facebook post that Newton-John spoke out frequently on behalf of the cancer center and “advocated for research, early detection and prevention of the disease.”
“We were blessed to have had Olivia as a friend and colleague,” Moffitt said. “She was one of a kind and an extraordinary individual. The Moffitt family is deeply saddened by her passing. We send our heartfelt condolences to her husband, John, and daughter, Chloe.”