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Olivia Newton-John dedicated her life to breast cancer research

The singer-actress had strong ties to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which has a large presence here in San Diego.

SAN DIEGO — Condolences continue to pour in for Olivia Newton-John, days after the actress and singer died. People are also acknowledging all the 73-year-old did for breast cancer research.

Newton-John rose to superstardom after playing Sandy in the 1978 movie ‘Grease.’ The English born, Australian raised singer and actress won four Grammys during her career. 

But her accolades go far beyond the stage and big screen. In 1992, Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer. In the decades that followed, she battled it twice more, something she shared publicly, as she advocated for research and early detection.

To further her passion, in 2012, Newton-John opened a cancer wellness and research center in Australia.

In a tribute to his wife, her husband wrote:

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

"This is someone who meant so much to the world not just as an artist but as a philanthropist. She was incredibly involved in raising awareness and encouraging women to take action for their breast health," said Megan Klink, Regional Vice President of Community Development at Susan G. Komen in San Diego.

Klink says Newton-John was heavily involved with the organization, including several of its annual fundraising events.

"I know we were all so incredibly grateful to have her part of the Komen family and it's a big loss," noted Klink.

Newton-John's death has highlighted a stage of breast cancer often misunderstood.

She had metastatic breast cancer, meaning the cancer has spread from the breast to other parts of the body.

According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, more than 168,000 women are estimated to be living with metastatic breast cancer in the United States.

MBC, as its often referred to, is responsible for most of the nation's 44,000 annual breast cancer deaths.

"There is no cure. However because of great advancements in research and clinical trials it can extend someone's life sometimes as many as 20-30 years living with MBC and improve quality of life," said Klink.

It's that quality of life newton-john always spoke about in a positive way.

As for her legacy, in lieu of flowers, her family is asking for donations to the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, to ensure the work she did in researching breast cancer, and plant based medicine, will continue for generations to come.

CBS 8 has been a long time supporter of breast cancer research. Again this year, we will be working to support both the annual More Than Pink Walk in San Diego, which will be held on Sunday, November 6th in Balboa Park, and the annual San Diego 3-Day in San Diego from November 18th to the 20th. Register for these events at cbs8.com/community. And, for more information, visit Komen.org.

RELATED: ‘Grease’ star Olivia Newton-John dead at 73

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Watch Related: Olivia Newton John takes the stage in San Diego in 1998

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