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Olivia Newton-John's sister Rona has cancer, Las Vegas shows postponed

04/23/2013 by Corinne Heller

"Grease" actress and pop singer Olivia Newton-John has postponed a Las Vegas concert residency in order to spend time with her sister, who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer.

The 64-year-old star was supposed to perform shows at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino later this year during nights regular headliners Donny and Marie Osmond were away, a company spokesperson confirmed to OTRC.com on Tuesday, following a Las Vegas Sun report.

Newton-John issued the following statement on Monday on her website:

"I recently received the very sad news that my beautiful sister, Rona Newton-John, has been diagnosed with brain cancer. In light of this news, I have decided to postpone my forthcoming Las Vegas residency to spend time with her and our family."

"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, a UK-born Australian star, founded the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, around the same time her father died of liver cancer, according to the website, which adds that following a partial mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery, the actress and singer has been cancer-free for more than 10 years.

Olivia is also involved in Rona's son Emerson Newton-John's breast cancer and prostate cancer awareness organization, Pink and Blue for Two (PB42).

Olivia played Sandy, love interest of John Travolta's character Danny, in the 1978 musical "Grease." Rona, 72, was married to their co-star Jeff Conaway for five years in the 1980s. They had no children together. In addition to Emerson, Rona also has another son and two daughters from a previous marriage. Conaway, who played Danny's friend and fellow T-Bird member Kenickie, died on May 27, 2011 after battling pneumonia and sepsis.

Olivia and Rona also have a brother, Hugh Newton-John, who is a doctor.

(Pictured above: Olivia Newton-John performs at the American Music Theatre on Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Credit: Owen Sweeney / Invision / AP)

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