As Rona Newton-John fights for her life, her sister is by her side.
Olivia Newton-John is no stranger to cancer. She fought her own battle with the disease in the 90s and has since campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness and funds to help others. But last week, the singer faced the illness again, with the discovery her beloved sister Rona, 69, has brain cancer.
Cancelling a series of shows at the famous Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel, where she’s been filling in for Donny and Marie Osmond, the 64-year-old singer rushed to Rona’s side. In an official statement, Olivia confirmed the “very sad news” of her older sister’s diagnosis. “I have decided to postpone my forthcoming Las Vegas residency to spend time with her and our family,” she announced.
“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. I want to thank everyone in advance for respecting our privacy during this difficult time.”
Olivia has talked often of her sister as being her rock over the years, the woman she turns to when things get tough and who is always there when she needs her. Rona was by Livvy’s side when she underwent treatment for breast cancer in 1992, when their father died of liver cancer the same year, and through Olivia’s divorce from husband Matt Lattanzi in 1995. Olivia also had her sister to lean on in 2005 when long-time partner Patrick McDermott disappeared on a fishing trip, and through her daughter Chloe’s battle with anorexia in 2007.
Read more about Rona's cancer battle in this week's Woman’s Day on sale Monday April 29, 2013.