Olivia Newton-John has shared a heartbreaking tribute to Helen Reddy following the Australian singer’s death on Tuesday at the age of 78.
The actress, 72, posted a never-before-seen photograph of herself and Helen playing tennis during their earlier years to Instagram on Thursday.
‘Helen Reddy encouraged me and paved the way for my success in the USA,’ Olivia wrote.
Tribute: Olivia Newton-John (pictured) shared a heartbreaking tribute to singer Helen Reddy after her tragic death aged 78 following a battle with dementia on Thursday
‘Thank you Helen for your friendship, your voice and your passion for women’s rights – you will be missed,’ she said.
Reddy died in Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon, five years after she was diagnosed with dementia.
In addition to her feminist anthem I Am Woman, the Melbourne-born songstress was also known for her hits Delta Dawn and Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady.
Helen’s two children, Traci Donat and Jordan Sommers, announced their mother’s death on Facebook.
Memories: Olivia posted a never-before-seen photograph of herself and Helen playing tennis during their earlier years to Instagram and wrote: ‘Thank you Helen for your friendship, your voice and your passion for women’s rights – you will be missed’
They wrote in a joint statement: ‘It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Helen Reddy, on the afternoon of September 29, 2020, in Los Angeles.
‘She was a wonderful mother, grandmother and a truly formidable woman. Our hearts are broken. But we take comfort in the knowledge that her voice will live on forever.’
Her cause of death has not yet been confirmed.
Since her dementia diagnosis in 2015, Helen had been living in a nursing home in LA for retired Hollywood talent.
Tragic: Reddy died in Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon, five years after she was diagnosed with dementia
Media commentator Peter Ford said on
Reddy was a pioneer behind the women’s rights movement of the 1970s, and her death comes just months after the biopic I Am Woman depicted the many social changes her music inspired throughout her career.
Back in 2005, Helen said she wasn’t afraid of dying in an interview with Australian broadcaster Margaret Throsby.
‘I see dying as going home… where we came from,’ she said. ‘Where we all go back to. I’ve seen enough of the other side to know that that is our true home. That is where we are loved beyond anything we can imagine here.’
‘I see dying as going home’: Back in 2005, Reddy said she wasn’t afraid of dying in an interview with Australian broadcaster Margaret Throsby. Pictured in March 2005
The life and times of Helen Reddy
1941: Helen Reddy was born in Melbourne
1961: She married her first husband, Kenneth Weate, before the pair parted ways after the birth of their daughter, Traci, in 1963
1966: Reddy married her second husband, Jeff Wald. They welcomed a son named Jordan in 1972 and divorced in 1983
1971: Reddy released her debut studio album, I Don’t Know How to Love Him
1972: The singer released her third studio album, I Am Woman
1973: Reddy won the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for I Am Woman, and famously said: ‘I’d like to thank God, because she makes everything possible’. She also became the first Australian singer to top the U.S. charts
1974: She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her work in the music industry
1976: Reddy released her eighth studio album, Music, Music. She went on to release a total of 18 studio albums throughout her career, worked on TV shows and also focused on activism for the next few decades
1983: She married Milton Ruth. The pair went on to divorce in 1995
2002: Reddy announced her retirement from performing
2011: Billboard named her No. 28 in its list of the best adult contemporary artists of all time
2015: Anonymous sources claimed Reddy had been diagnosed with dementia
2017: Reddy appeared at the Women’s March in LA, singing an a capella version of I Am Woman
2019: A biopic of Reddy’s life, I Am Woman, was produced for streaming platform Stan. She was played by actress Tilda Cobham-Hervey
2020: Helen Reddy died on September 29