Olivia Newton-John “really struggled with a lot of pain” in her final days, the late Grease star’s niece Tottie Goldsmith said during an interview on Tuesday (9 August).
Her death was confirmed by widower John Easterling in a statement posted to Newton-John’s Facebook page: “Dame Olivia Newton-John passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends.”
In an interview with Australian news programme A Current Affair, Goldsmith said her aunt’s death was not a shock and that the family has “known how sick she’s been”, especially in the week prior.
Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, when she was 43, before the illness went into remission. In 2017, she revealed her breast cancer had returned and spread to her lower back, progressing to stage IV. She also had a second cancer diagnosis in 2013.
“It wasn’t just the cancer that got her; it was other complications, being in a hospital and with a very susceptible immune system,” Goldsmith told A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw, adding: “She got secondary infections.”
In the past, Newton-John spoke about using cannabis to cope with the pain she experienced as a result of the cancer, telling People magazine that it “helped incredibly with pain maintenance and sleep” during a 2019 interview.
However, Goldsmith told Grimshaw the medication “wasn’t enough” during her aunt’s final days and that she “really struggled with a lot of pain” before her death.
Goldsmith said: “She was really skinny and unwell and I said to her, ‘Are you afraid of dying?’ and she said, ‘I’m not afraid. I’ve done more in my life than I could have ever imagined’.”
The Australian actor said that while she couldn’t fly to the US to be with her aunt, she “told her all the things I needed to say” over a FaceTime call two days prior to Newton-John’s death.
“She was leaving us, but I feel like she got it,” Goldsmith, who was visibly distraught, added.
Goldsmith also said her cousin, Newton-John’s daughter Chloe Lattanzi, has had it “really tough” but she has “been amazing”.
Lattanzi, late on Tuesday night, posted an emotional video tribute to her mother on Instagram. The post included behind-the-scenes footage of the mother-daughter duo recording their duet “Window in the Wall”.
Her caption read: “You are my lighthouse mama. My safe place. My heart space. It has been my honour and continues to be my honor to be your baby and best friend.
“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.”