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How Did Kelly Preston Die? New Details On Tragic Death Of Actress At Age 57 From Breast Cancer

Photo: Oleg Nikishin / Shutterstock
How Did Kelly Preston Die? New Details On Tragic Death Of Actress At Age 57 From Breast Cancer

Kelly Preston was someone who movie lovers may not have identified as a "superstar celebrity," but someone who was a beloved acting figure nonetheless. With standout performances in such films as Jerry McGuire and Twins, Preston made a name for herself in the Hollywood industry. 

And that became doubly so when, in 1991, she married A-list superstar John Travolta. She would go on to have three children with Travolta, and we became further endeared to her when her eldest son, Jett, died in 2009. 

So you can imagine how surprising it all was when, on July 12, 2020, John Travolta took to his Instagram to announce that his longtime wife, and the beloved actress, had passed away at the age of 57. 

How did Kelly Preston die?

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Preston passed away after a two-year battle with breast cancer. 

John Travolta took to his Instagram page to announce that Kelly Preston passed away after battling breast cancer for two years. 

"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," he wrote in the caption of the tribute post, which you can see below. 


A post shared by John Travolta (@johntravolta) on Jul 12, 2020 at 10:20pm PDT

Her breast cancer diagnosis was not made public. 

One of the reasons that Kelly Preston's death was so tragic and unexpected was because her breast cancer diagnosis wasn't made public. The last time she was photographed anywhere in public, however, was in June 2018, when she walked the red carpet with Travolta during the premiere of Gotti, where Travolta played the embattled mobster John Gotti. 

But according to her representative, her decision not to make her breast cancer fight public was hers and hers alone. 

"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," Preston's representative exclusively confirmed.

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She and John Travolta would occasionally act together. 

Though Kelly Preston was previously married to actor Kevin Gage, her relationship with John Travolta was her longest-lasting relationship. The couple met in 1988 when they were filming The Experts together and they would go on to occasionally act together as well. Though their most high-profile joint acting job was on the 2000 flop Battlefield Earth, they also starred in Gotti together, where Preston played Victoria Gotti opposite Travolta's John Gotti. 

Her daughter, Ella, paid tribute to her mother as well. 

"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," Ella Travolta wrote in a post matching her father's.

Her son, Jett, preceded her in death. 

In 2009, John Travolta and Kelly Preston's eldest son, Jett, hit his head in the bathtub after suffering a seizure. He subsequently died from his injuries. The family was on vacation in Grand Bahama Island when the tragedy struck. And though the couple "kept their grieving private," they eventually revealed that their son had autism — though it wasn't a diagnosis they made public while he was alive. 

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Our thoughts are with Kelly Preston's family and friends during this difficult time. 

Bernadette Giacomazzo is an editor, writer, publicist, and photographer whose work has appeared in Teen Vogue, People, Us Weekly, The Source, XXL, HipHopDX, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, BET.com, and more.