TODAY'S PAPER
66° Good Evening
66° Good Evening
EntertainmentCelebrities

John Travolta's 16-year-old son dies in Bahamas

NASSAU, Bahamas - John Travolta's teenage son, Jett, diedin the Bahamas after apparently suffering a seizure and hitting hishead at his family's vacation home, authorities said Friday.

A house caretaker found Jett, 16, unconscious in a bathroom lateFriday morning. He was taken by ambulance to a Freeport hospital,where he was pronounced dead, Police Superintendent Basil Rahmingsaid in a statement.

The teenager had last been seen entering the bathroom onThursday and had a history of seizures, according to the statement.An autopsy is planned.

Jett apparently hit his head on the bathtub, said a policeofficer who declined to be named because she was not authorized tospeak on the matter.

Family attorney Michael Ossi said in a statement that Jett diedsuddenly on Friday. Publicists Samantha Mast and Paul Blochreleased the statement but could not be reached for additionalcomment.

Jett was the oldest child of Travolta, 54, and his wife, actressKelly Preston, 46, who also have an 8-year-old daughter, Ella Bleu.

Preston and Travolta have said that Jett became very sick whenhe was 2 years old and was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease, anillness that leads to inflammation of the blood vessels in youngchildren. She blamed household cleaners and fertilizers, and saidthat a detoxification program based on teachings from the Church ofScientology helped improve his health, according to Peoplemagazine. Both Travolta and Preston are practicing Scientologists.

"I was obsessive about his space being cleaned. We constantlyhad the carpets cleaned," Travolta said in a 2001 interview withCNN's Larry King, a portion of which was rebroadcast on the "LarryKing Live" show Friday night. During that interview, when Jett was9, Travolta spoke of how his son nearly died when he was 2.

It is unclear whether Jett was taking any medications for hisseizures.

The Scientology Celebrity Center in Los Angeles declined tocomment.

A spokeswoman for Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport said shecould not release any information because of privacy concerns.

The family had arrived in the Bahamas on a private plane Tuesdayand was vacationing at their home in the Old Bahama Bay resortcommunity.

"The Travolta family has become like family to us at Old BahamaBay and we extend our deepest sympathies to them," said RobertGidel, president of Ginn Resorts, the property's owner.

Travolta's corporate and commercial attorney, Michael McDermott,said the actor had a very strong relationship with his son.

"There was unspoken communication between the two. ... It'sjust so hard," he said in a telephone interview with TheAssociated Press. "Kelly is very quiet and both are grieving."

McDermott said his family and other friends are with the couplein the Bahamas. The group came for a two-day New Year's celebrationand had planned to return to Florida on Sunday.

"We're are all here and trying to help in any way we can,"McDermott said. "Their pain is so evident."

Obie Wilchcombe, a parliament member and former tourism ministerin the Bahamas, said Travolta "spent a tremendous amount of timewith Jett."

"He always brought him along. There was a close affectionaterelationship and lots of love," Wilchcombe told "Larry KingLive" in a live telephone interview. "People in the old Bahamacommunity today are in shock."

Wilchcombe said that an autopsy is planned for Monday, and "weexpect a quick resolution."

"John spoke with the minister of health and the doctors andpolice are at the hospital. They're very, very quick to resolvethings," he said.

Travolta, who gained fame as Vinnie Barbarino on the 1970stelevision show "Welcome Back, Kotter" and the 1977 film"Saturday Night Fever," went on to become one of Hollywood'sbiggest names. He married Preston in 1991.

A television actress, Preston appeared with Travolta in the 2000film "Battlefield Earth," based on a novel by Scientology founderL. Ron Hubbard.

Wilchcombe said the Travoltas had invited 60 friends for the NewYear's holiday weekend.

"They're needed today more than ever before," he said.

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

More Entertainment