Vale Dame Olivia Newton-John

The La Trobe University community is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our friend and benefactor Dame Olivia Newton-John AC DBE.

As well as being an incredibly accomplished singer, songwriter and actor, Dame Olivia made a significant contribution to cancer research and holistic health.

Following her diagnosis of breast cancer in 1992, the four-time Grammy Award winner worked tirelessly to establish the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre at the Austin Hospital, which provides support to people living with and affected by cancer.

The Centre is home to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute (ONJCRI), which also operates as the La Trobe University School of Cancer Medicine. The Institute undertakes cutting-edge research to develop treatments for breast cancer, bowel cancer, lung cancer, brain cancer, lymphoma and melanoma. La Trobe Chancellor, The Hon. John Brumby AO, was the inaugural Chair of the ONJCRI when it was established in 2015.

La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Dewar AO, said Dame Olivia touched the lives of many.

“Olivia had a bold vision to one day live in a world beyond cancer – and she dedicated much of her time and energy to realising that vision,” Professor Dewar said.

“Her belief in the world-class research being done at La Trobe University’s School of Cancer Medicine, the ONJCRI, made an enormous difference to the lives of many people around the world, through new cancer discoveries and therapies.

“We are indebted to Olivia for her foresight, and will always be reminded of her determination and hope for a better world, through the impact of our research,” Professor Dewar said.

In 2018 Dame Olivia received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from La Trobe in recognition of her significant and ongoing support of cancer research and holistic health, as well as her outstanding achievements in the entertainment industry.

It was the first Honorary Doctorate awarded to the acclaimed Australian.

Dame Olivia leaves a legacy of giving and service, and a long commitment to cancer research and finding kinder and more effective treatments for cancer. She will be remembered always.

Media enquiries: Kate O’Connor – k.o’, 0436 189 629