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Stockard Channing pays touching tribute to Grease co-star Olivia Newton-John: 'I will miss her'

Stockard Channing was one of several stars to pay tribute to Olivia Newton-John on Monday, after she passed away at the age of 73 following a 30-year battle with breast cancer.

The 78-year-old actress called her Grease colleague “the essence of summer” in a touching statement to People.

‘I don’t know if I’ve known a nicer person. Olivia was the essence of summer – her sunshine, her warmth and her grace always come to mind when I think of her,” she said, adding, “I will miss her terribly.”

Tribute: Stockard Channing was one of several stars to pay tribute to Olivia Newton-John on Monday, after she passed away at age 73 following a 30-year battle with breast cancer;  Pictured in 1998

Tribute: Stockard Channing was one of several stars to pay tribute to Olivia Newton-John on Monday, after she passed away at age 73 following a 30-year battle with breast cancer; Pictured in 1998

Channing played Pink Lady Betty Rizzo alongside Sandy Olsen, Newton-John’s two-shoe teen, in the iconic 1978 musical Grease.

Fellow co-star John Travolta, 68, was among the first to pay tribute on Monday, writing: “My dear Olivia, you have made our whole lives so much better. Your impact was incredible. I love you so much.’

He added: ‘We will see you on the road and we will all be together again. Yours from the first moment I saw you and forever! Your Danny, your John!’

1660018074 182 Stockard Channing pays touching tribute to Grease co star Olivia Newton John

1660018074 182 Stockard Channing pays touching tribute to Grease co star Olivia Newton John

1660018074 538 Stockard Channing pays touching tribute to Grease co star Olivia Newton John

1660018074 538 Stockard Channing pays touching tribute to Grease co star Olivia Newton John

Touching: The 78-year-old actress called her Grease colleague “the essence of summer” and said she “will miss her immensely” in a touching statement to People; (L) Channing as Rizzo (R) Newton-John as Sandy in 1978 stills of Grease

Sunny: 'I don't know if I've known a more beautiful person,' she said, adding: 'Her sunshine, her warmth and her grace always come to mind when I think of her';  Pictured 2001

Sunny: 'I don't know if I've known a more beautiful person,' she said, adding: 'Her sunshine, her warmth and her grace always come to mind when I think of her';  Pictured 2001

Sunny: ‘I don’t know if I’ve known a more beautiful person,’ she said, adding: ‘Her sunshine, her warmth and her grace always come to mind when I think of her’; Pictured 2001

The Grease star died Monday with loved ones by her side at her Southern California ranch, according to her husband, John Easterling.

“Dame Olivia Newton-John, 73, passed away peacefully this morning at her Southern California ranch surrounded by family and friends,” reads a Facebook post.

“We ask everyone to respect the privacy of the family during this very difficult time.

Olivia has been a symbol of triumph and hope for sharing her journey with breast cancer for over 30 years.

Iconic: Channing played Pink Lady Betty Rizzo alongside Sandy Olsen, Newton-John's two-shoe teen, in the iconic 1978 musical Grease

Iconic: Channing played Pink Lady Betty Rizzo alongside Sandy Olsen, Newton-John's two-shoe teen, in the iconic 1978 musical Grease

Iconic: Channing played Pink Lady Betty Rizzo alongside Sandy Olsen, Newton-John’s two-shoe teen, in the iconic 1978 musical Grease

“Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience in plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, which is dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer,” he said.

Olivia got her big break in the movie musical, starring opposite John Travolta’s handsome bad boy Danny Zuko – creating the new song “Hopelessly Devoted To You.”

She famously opposed the role, rejecting producer Allan Carr at first because she thought she was too old for the part.

He won her over and adapted the script to make the character an Australian ex-pat to accommodate her accent.

1660018074 547 Stockard Channing pays touching tribute to Grease co star Olivia Newton John

1660018074 547 Stockard Channing pays touching tribute to Grease co star Olivia Newton John

Lovely: Fellow colleague John Travolta, 68, was one of the first to pay tribute by writing, “I love you so much” and adding, “Yours from the first moment I saw you and forever!”

Sandy and Danny: Olivia got her big break in the movie musical, starring opposite Travolta's handsome bad boy Danny Zuko

Sandy and Danny: Olivia got her big break in the movie musical, starring opposite Travolta's handsome bad boy Danny Zuko

Sandy and Danny: Olivia got her big break in the movie musical, starring opposite Travolta’s handsome bad boy Danny Zuko

When the film came out, it was an instant international hit and became a worldwide sex symbol.

She would defend her transition from sweet to sexy for years later and amid a wave of criticism from the #MeToo movement.

‘It’s a movie. It’s a 50’s story where it was different. Everyone forgets that he eventually changes for her too. There is nothing deep in the #MeToo movement. It’s just a girl who loves a guy, and she thinks that if she does, he’ll like her.

“And he thinks if he does, she’ll like him. I think that’s pretty real. That’s what people do for each other. It was a nice love story.’

Fate: She famously opposed the role, initially turning down producer Allan Carr thinking she was too old for the part;  LR Jeff Conaway (as Kenickie), Jamie Donnelly (as Jan), Newton-John, Kelly Ward (as Putzie), Travolta and Channing

Fate: She famously opposed the role, initially turning down producer Allan Carr thinking she was too old for the part;  LR Jeff Conaway (as Kenickie), Jamie Donnelly (as Jan), Newton-John, Kelly Ward (as Putzie), Travolta and Channing

Fate: She famously opposed the role, initially turning down producer Allan Carr thinking she was too old for the part; LR Jeff Conaway (as Kenickie), Jamie Donnelly (as Jan), Newton-John, Kelly Ward (as Putzie), Travolta and Channing

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