The world of film and music has been rocked by news that Olivia Newton-John has died, aged 73.
Successful music star Newton-John, who appeared opposite John Travolta in Grease, died of breast cancer.
Her husband, John Easterling, announced the news on Monday (8 August), stating that she “passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends”.
Newton-John, who was known by many as Sandy in the 1978 musical film Grease, made headlines in 2017 when it was reported that her former boyfriend had been discovered after going missing for 12 years.
Patrick McDermott disappeared while on a fishing trip in 2005.
After setting off on a boat from San Pedro Marina, McDermott, who was 48 at the time, mysteriously vanished. Personal items, including his wallet, were found on board the vessel.
It was determined via a US Coast Guard investigation in November 2008 that McDermott "most likely" drowned, but, despite this, the circumstances around his disappearance led to the belief that he might have faked his own death.
In 2009, investigators on Dateline NBC claimed McDermott disappeared to avoid debts – including $8,000 he allegedly owed to his ex-wife for child support.
Eight years later, Australian magazine New Idea claimed it had evidence that McDermott was alive after receiving photos by US media agency Coleman-Rayna that showed a man matching his description.
Private detective Charlie Parker told the outlet that the figure was a “90 per cent match” to McDermott, stating: "The widow's peak is exact. The eyes are very similar and the ears extend down on the head the same distance. I believe it is him.”
It was previously claimed that McDermott had been discovered living in Mexico with a German girlfriend in March 2016.
Newton-John expressed grief about her former boyfriend’s disappearance in September 2016, telling 60 Minutes: “It’s human to wonder but, you know, those are the things in life you have to accept and let go. Because whenever you go through difficult times, there’s always those concerns.
“But, I live on and of course questions come up, always – it’s human.”
Ten years before, Newton-John revealed that McDermott’s disappearance had brought her closer to his ex-wife, Yvette Nipar, who she called “a wonderful person”.
She told broadcaster Larry King during an interview: “I see his son, and he’s thriving. He’s doing really well.”
Hollywood stars are paying tribute to Newton-John following her death. Her family, who asked for privacy in their statement, said: “Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer.
“Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer.”
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