John Travolta’s wife Kelly Preston has died of breast cancer aged 57, the actor announced ‘with a very heavy heart’ last night.
Preston died on Sunday morning having ‘fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many’, Travolta said as he revealed his wife’s two-year cancer ordeal for the first time.
Their 20-year-old daughter Ella said she had ‘never met anyone as courageous’ as her mother. The couple also have a son Benjamin, who is nine years old, and had an older son Jett who died aged 16 after a seizure at a Bahamas holiday home in 2009.
The tragedy of Jett’s death was followed by a legal row with an ambulance driver who was accused of trying to extort $25million from the couple by threatening to reveal sensitive details about the death.
Actress and former model Preston had been married to Travolta for 29 years. The couple lived in Florida and were both practicing Scientologists.
John confirmed his wife’s death in an Instagram post overnight Sunday, writing: ‘Kelly’s love and life will always be remembered.
‘I will be taking some time to be there for my children who have lost their mother, so forgive me in advance if you don’t hear from us for a while. But please know that I will feel your outpouring of love in the weeks and months ahead as we heal.’
Daughter Ella paid tribute to her mom in a moving post, writing: ‘I love you so much mama.’
A spokesman for the family told People: ‘On the morning of July 12, 2020, Kelly Preston, adored wife and mother, passed away following a two-year battle with breast cancer.
‘Choosing to keep her fight private, she had been undergoing medical treatment for some time, supported by her closest family and friends.
‘She was a bright, beautiful and loving soul who cared deeply about others and who brought life to everything she touched. Her family asks for your understanding of their need for privacy at this time.’
Travolta paid tribute to the ‘doctors and nurses at MD Anderson Cancer Center’ who treated Preston during her illness, but the family has not revealed whether she was in the hospital or at the couple’s Florida home when she died. The Cancer Center has numerous locations in the United States, including in Florida.
Daughter Ella wrote in her own tribute: ‘I have never met anyone as courageous, strong, beautiful and loving as you.
‘Anyone who is lucky enough to have known you or to have ever been in your presence will agree that you have a glow and a light that never ceases to shine and that makes anyone around you feel instantly happy. Thank you for being there for me no matter what.
‘Thank you for your love. Thank you for your help and thank you for making this world a better place.
‘You have made life so beautiful and I know you will continue to do so always. I love you so much mama.’
Tributes have already poured in from celebrities who hailed her ‘kindness’ and ‘beautiful light’ and said they were heartbroken for the family, who had already suffered the agony of Jett’s death in 2009.
Maria Shriver was among those to pay a heartfelt tribute last night, saying she was ‘shocked by this sad news’.
‘Kelly was such a bright loving soul, a talented actress, and a loving mom and wife,’ Shriver said. ‘My heart breaks for her family who have already known such sadness and grief. Join me in sending them love and strength.’