Rona Newton-John, Olivia Newton-John’s older sister, died Friday just a month after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. She was 70 years old.
Olivia took to Facebook on Wednesday to confirm the news of her sister’s passing to her fans:
“My beautiful sister Rona sadly passed,” said the Grease star, who overcame a cancer diagnosis herself 20 years ago. “Rona died of a very aggressive brain tumor and mercifully suffered no pain. She was surrounded by the love of her four children – Fiona, Brett,Tottie and Emerson and, her wonderful friends.”
“Thank you all for your kind words of love and support.”
Rona — who in her younger years starred in the internationally popular British comedy series The Benny Hill Show — was married to Grease actor Jeff Conaway from 1980 to 1985. They had a son, Emerson Newton-John, who is now a professional race car driver.
After her marriage to Conaway, Rona married Melbourne restaurateur and nightclub owner Brian Goldsmith.
Their daughter is Chantoozies star Tottie Goldsmith.
Instead of sending flowers to honor Rona, Olivia has asked friends, family, and fans to send donations to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Center at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne.
Olivia first announced Rona’s disease in April and canceled scheduled Las Vegas shows to be with her sibling.
”As a cancer ‘thriver’ myself, as many people are, I am very aware of the importance of love, support and family during this journey she is about to begin,” Olivia said at the time. “I want to thank everyone in advance for respecting our privacy during this difficult time.”
Now Olivia plans to add a “brain tumor wellness program” to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Center in her sister’s honor and name.
The donations will go towards funding that particular program.