Preston’s cause of death stemmed from a two-year battle with breast cancer, which came as a shock to many since she never went public with her diagnosis. Married to actor Travolta since 1991, she is survived by her mother, Linda Carlson, Travolta, and their two children, Ella, 20, and Benjamin, 9. Their eldest son, Jett, preceded Preston in death following a seizure at age 16 in 2009.
A family representative told People in an exclusive statement: “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,” the statement continued. “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.”
According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, breast cancer, which occurs when cells in the breast divide and grow without their normal control, affected 2 million new patients in 2018. The National Breast Cancer Foundation reported that 1 in 8 women develop a form of breast cancer in their lifetime, and in 2020, an estimated 41,760 women will die from it in the United States alone.
Travolta Thanked Preston’s Doctors at MD Anderson Medical Cancer Center Following Her Death
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It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that my beautiful wife Kelly has lost her two-year battle with breast cancer. She fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many. My family and I will forever be grateful to her doctors and nurses at MD Anderson Cancer Center, all the medical centers that have helped, as well as her many friends and loved ones who have been by her side. 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. All my love, JT
Details of Preston’s cancer were not immediately revealed, but Travolta, 65, thanked her doctors in a moving tribute post to his late wife. He wrote on Instagram:
“It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that my beautiful wife Kelly has lost her two-year battle with breast cancer. She fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many. My family and I will forever be grateful to her doctors and nurses at MD Anderson Cancer Center, all the medical centers that have helped, as well as her many friends and loved ones who have been by her side. Kelly’s love and life will always be remembered.”
Travolta continued, “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.”
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is located in Houston, Texas. It is the largest cancer center in America.
Preston Appeared Healthy in Family Pictures Recently Posted on Social Media
In addition to Preston keeping her diagnosis from the public, her death seemed shocking because the Jerry Maguire star appeared healthy in recent photos posted on Instagram. Her daughter Ella shared a video of the entire family celebrating Easter in April, and a hilarious video of Preston messing up saying, “Happy New Year, everyone!” on December 31, 2019.
In May, Preston herself shared a gorgeous selfie with her daughter and a photo of her son fishing on Instagram. She captioned the pictures, “My beautiful babies… I love you with all of my heart.”
Preston’s last post on Instagram was a tribute to Travolta. She posted a photo of the family, and a picture of her late son, Jett, and wrote, “Happy Father’s Day to the best one I know, we love you.”
Travolta Was a Huge Support to ‘Grease’ Co-Star Olivia Newton-John Through Her Battle With Breast Cancer
Travolta was well versed in how to best support his wife through her battle with breast cancer, after his Grease co-star, Olivia Newton-John, was diagnosed with breast cancer for the third time in 2018. The actress mentioned that Travolta was incredibly sympathetic throughout her ongoing battle.
“He’s been wonderful,” Newton-John said of Travolta. “He calls and checks up on me. He came to one of my shows — right before this happened, actually, right before my diagnosis. I saw him and I was hobbling around the dinner table because I was having trouble sitting down. And he was concerned.”
Travolta Lost the First Love of His Life, Diana Hyland, to Breast Cancer in 1977
Back in 1977, Travolta was seriously dating Diana Hyland, who played his mother in the TV movie, The Boy in the Plastic Bubble. While she was 18 years his senior, Travolta was 23, the Saturday Night Fever star was smitten. “I thought I was in love before, but I wasn’t Travolta told People at the time. “From the moment I met her, I was attracted. We were like two maniacs talking al the time on the set of Bubble. After a month, it became romantic.”
Hyland was previously married to husband Joseph Goodson from 1969 to 1977, with whom she had one son. She starred on TV series such as Peyton’s Place and Eight is Enough, and two years after having a double mastectomy, she died in Travolta’s arms at age 41.
“She didn’t know she was going to die for sure until two weeks before,” Travolta said. “And when I first knew her, there was a possibility it would never happen.” On March 27, 1977, Travolta said, “I felt the breath go out of her.”
Friends, Fans & Co-Stars Shared on Twitter That They Were ‘Shocked’ to Learn of Preston’s Death
Preston’s death, which seemed so sudden, was heartbreaking news for her friends, fans and former co-stars. Josh Gad tweeted, “I’m in absolute shock. What a beautiful and amazing actress and person. So sad to hear of her passing at such a young age. My heart goes out to John Travolta and the entire family. What a loss. RIP #KellyPreston.”
Maria Shriver tweeted, “Shocked by this sad news. Kelly was such a bright loving soul, a talented actress, and a loving mom and wife. My heart breaks for her family who have already known such sadness and grief. Join me in sending them love and strength. #RIP #KellyPreston.”
Fans remembered Preston for her memorable performances in many films. The actress starred in numerous movies, including Twins, Citizen Ruth, Nothing to Lose, Addicted to Love, For Love of the Game, Battlefield Earth, Sky High, The Cat in the Hat, What a Girl Wants and Return to Sender. In 2018, she starred alongside her husband in the film Gotti.
Can’t remember where, but, met first in late ‘92 I think.
Such a lovely person. In 1995 we auditioned together for Breaking Up, Salma Hayek got that gig.
I havent seen her much, but when I did, she was always the same sparkly eyed gem.
Love to her family.
— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) July 13, 2020
I just realized Kelly Preston played the mom in the Cat in the Hat and in Sky High😭😭😭
— 🧊 (@_jawdin) July 13, 2020
Kelly Preston was enormously kind and unbelievably lovely. Can’t believe this. My thoughts are with her sweet Ella and the rest of her incredible family. RIP 🤍🤍🤍
— Chloe Bennet (@chloebennet) July 13, 2020
Please tell me the news of Kelly Preston is not true. I had no idea she had breast cancer. My heart aches for her family. This is an insidious disease. She was always so lovely and mind when we intervyher. I’m so saddened. #RIPKELLYPRESTON
— Jillian Barberie (@askjillian) July 13, 2020
RIP to my on screen mom, #kellypreston. What a lovely woman. Such a sad loss.
— Spencer Breslin (@Spencerbreslin) July 13, 2020
One of my all time favorite music videos is Maroon 5’s She Will Be Loved, mostly in part because of Kelly Preston’s ICONIC@role as the unrequited lover. She was so beautiful, Rest In Peace 🕊 pic.twitter.com/Ae7O7RJe4l
— alexus 🌺 (@AlexusAriana) July 13, 2020