Rick Springfield Emotionally Remembers Longtime Friendship with Olivia Newton-John

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Rick Springfield is paying tribute to his longtime friend, Olivia Newton-John. The 72-year-old Australian-born singer gets emotional as he recalls their enduring friendship as both stars who relocated to America and rose up through the industry ranks around the same time. 

"It was a great camaraderie amongst Aussies back then over here," he said in an interview with Today Show Australia, in which he appeared via Zoom from Oklahoma. "It was a very small group and it was just like hugging home, you know. Being together. She was always very positive and I was always in awe of her 'cause she had everything. She could sing, she was beautiful and on top of that, she was an incredible human being. That, to me, is her lasting legacy."

Springfield became visibly and audibly emotional during his appearance, but acknowledged that Newton-John's death "wasn't a giant shock." 

"I got a message from her camp that things weren't going well a couple of days ago," he said. 

Newton-John's husband, John Easterling, broke the news of her death Monday morning in a heartfelt tribute shared to Instagram, writing alongside a photo of the actress, "Dame Olivia Newton-John (73) passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends." 

Newton-John's long-term battle with cancer began in 1992 when she went public with her first diagnosis of breast cancer. She went on to fund the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia, and was a fierce advocate for cancer treatment and research.

"She continues to be a beautiful spirit," Springfield told Today

"I'm actually getting great joy from seeing everybody giving her love. She was an amazing human being and just so easy to love, and I don't know anybody who ever had a negative word to say about her," he said. "There's very few human beings you can say that about." 

Rick Springfield, Olivia Newton John and Andy Gibb

Rick Springfield, Olivia Newton John and Andy Gibb at 1982 American Music Awards.

ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

Springfield was among those with the privilege to witness Newton-John's explosive rise to stardom firsthand. He said, "It didn't change her. I think there's always a moment of, 'Oh my God, wow. Something's really happening.' But it didn't really change her. She never had a giant ego. She was thankful, I guess, is probably the best way to explain it. Never took anything for granted." 

Many of Newton-John's nearest and dearest have spoken out on her life and legacy in the wake of her passing, including Jane Seymore, Dionne Warwick, Leeza Gibbons and more. 

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