Some of the music industry’s biggest names will be amongst those paying tribute to Dame Olivia Newton-John at a state memorial service in Melbourne today.
Up to 2,500 people, including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews – all encouraged to wear a “touch of orange” in celebration of her favourite colour – will attend the service.
Most of those in attendance will be members of the public who had to pre-book seats for the memorial service, however some famous faces including John Travolta, Paul Hogan and Delta Goodrem are expected to attend.
Music royalty Sir Elton John, P!nk and Mariah Carey have recorded video tributes for the service, according to the Herald Sun.
“Olivia Newton John to me was someone who I always look forward to seeing – she was such a wonderful force of nature,” Elton John said, while P!nk – who showed her admiration for the Australian by performing ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You’ and the 2022 American Music Awards – called Newton-John “an absolute angel”.
“She was one of the kindest, most present, just light-filled beings walking around this earth,” she said.
Newton-John’s widower John Easterling told the Sun the location was perfect for the memorial service, as one of her dying wishes was to be farewelled in the city she moved to with her family at the age of five.
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“It’s not something we talked a lot about (but) she did know that she would like to have something in Australia as a special exchange at the end,” he said.
Newton-John, who was awarded a DBE in 2019 for services to music, cancer research and charity, died in August last year following a 30-year battle with breast cancer.
Entertainment guru Peter Ford told The Morning Show this week that the delay in holding the memorial service was due to the family needing time to get ready.
“Because of that passage of time … probably the grief has subsided a little [and] it can be much more of a celebration, reflection and gratitude for Olivia,” he said.
The “celebration of life” state memorial service for Newton-John will be held at Hamer Hall from 4pm today.
It will also be live-streamed on the Victorian Government’s website from 3:25pm for those who cannot attend in person.