Samantha Womack (Photo: Gareth Cattermole via Getty Images)
Former EastEnders star Samantha Womack has shared that she has been diagnosed with cancer as she paid tribute to Dame Olivia Newton-John.
The Ronnie Mitchell actor said she had been left “deeply moved” by the death of the Grease icon, who died at home on Monday at the age of 73 after her most recent battle against cancer.
In a social media post Samantha recalled her first meeting with Olivia, telling her followers: “I now start my own battle with this disease.”
Sharing a photo of when Olivia and her daughter Chloe came to see Samantha play Sandy in a West End production of Grease, Samantha wrote: “This was the most magical of evenings. Olivia and Chloe had come to see Grease in London and we had dinner together afterwards.
“I was so excited and in awe, she was my childhood.
“I now start my own battle with this disease and am left feeling deeply moved.”
This was the most magical of evenings. Olivia and Chloe had come to see Grease in London and we had dinner together afterwards. I was so excited and in awe, she was my childhood. I now start my own battle with this disease and am left feeling deeply moved. #OliviaNewtonJohnpic.twitter.com/7vkgT5oCMf
— Sam Womack (@Sam_Womack) August 9, 2022
Shortly after the news of Olivia’s death broke, her Grease co-star John Travolta was among the first to pay tribute online.
Since then, stars including Kylie Minogue, Oprah Winfrey and Mariah Carey also shared their memories of working with the Grammy-winning artist.
Olivia, who was catapulted into fame in 1978 after starring as Sandy in the film Grease, will also be remembered for her campaigning around breast cancer.
The British-born singer was first diagnosed with the disease in 1992.
It returned in her shoulder in 2013 and in her spine in 2017.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.