Olivia Newton-John remembered as 'one of a kind'

Olivia Newton-John has been remembered as a visionary who cared deeply about others and the world around her.

The acclaimed performer and activist, who died last August aged 73, was honoured on Sunday evening at a state memorial service in Melbourne.

Newton-John's daughter Chloe Lattanzi spoke through tears as she described her mother as her safe space, guide and earth beneath her feet.

"I loved how she loved fully and completely," she told the memorial.

"She would want us all to laugh and reminisce together in joy and celebrate her life.

"This life experience is temporary and my mother is the perfect example of a life truly lived."

Newton-John's husband John Easterling shared stories of their time together in the United States and their combined passion for nature and wildlife.

"She was the most courageous woman I've ever met," he told the service.

"Her bandwidth for genuinely caring about people, about animals, about creatures of all kinds, eclipses almost what is humanly possible.

"At her most difficult times, she always had the spirit, the humour and the willpower to move things into the light."

Australian performers, dignitaries and fans packed Hamer Hall for the service, while international stars Dolly Parton, Mariah Carey and Sir Cliff Richard were among those who sent video tributes.

"She was always optimistic, she was fun, she was beautiful, she was kind," Sir Elton John said in his video message.

"Those kinds of people don't come along very often, so we should treasure her memory and never forget what she gave the world."

Newton-John moved to Melbourne from the UK at a young age and showed an early passion for performance.

Her big break came when she played the role of Sandy in the 1978 film Grease.

The film, featuring hits including You're The One That I Want and Summer Nights, became the soundtrack for a generation and remains one of the most successful musicals of all time.

Newton-John's career spanned more than 60 years, during which she made 28 studio and six live albums.

She won four Grammys and had numerous number-one hits, selling more than 100 million records.

Delta Goodrem, who played Newton-John in a 2018 miniseries, on Sunday held back tears as she performed a medley of the singer's greatest hits including Let's Get Physical and Xanadu.

"She was really a light for all of the industry," Goodrem told Nine before the service.

"I would not be the artist I am today without having learnt from Olivia and her having paved the way for other artists."

Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and began fundraising for research and promoting cancer awareness.

A treatment and research hub in Melbourne, the Olivia Newton-John Wellness and Research Centre, opened in 2012 and its services have helped thousands.

"Olivia was a visionary," the centre's Debbie Shiell told the memorial service.

"She knew that cancer was more than just a physical journey - that to truly win over cancer you needed to support the mind and the spirit.

"What seemed so obvious to us now was actually ground-breaking at the time. Olivia was a pioneer."

In 2019, Newton-John was appointed as a Companion of the Order of Australia and also named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

But the accolades would never reflect the lasting legacy she left behind, entertainment reporter Richard Wilkins said.

"You were an absolute trailblazer," he told the service. "You were the ultimate class act.

"You left your mark on the world and made it a better place for all of us."