Friday, July 31, 2009

Details on Jett Travolta's tragic death!

Intense scrutiny has focused on John Travolta's family after the death of the actor's chronically ill 16-year-old son Jett, who died at the family's vacation home at a Grand Bahama resort on Friday.

Yesterday, an undertaker said the death certificate concluded that the cause of death was a seizure, and that the teen's body showed no sign of head trauma despite earlier police reports that he hit his head on a bathtub.

Mr. Travolta, 54, and wife Kelly Preston, 46, were spending New Year's with their son and eight-year-old daughter Ella Bleu at the luxury Old Bahama Bay resort community.

In a statement issued last Friday, Grand Bahama Police Superintendent Basil Rahming said caregiver Jeff Kathrain found the stocky teen unconscious in the bathroom; he was later pronounced dead at Freeport's Rand Memorial Hospital. According to the statement, Jett was last seen going into the bathroom on Thursday.

Mr. Travolta attempted CPR to revive his son, who may have died in his arms before an emergency medical technician took over, reported, citing the actor's lawyers Michael McDermott and Michael Ossi.

“He did mouth-to-mouth until they had to physically remove John to take Jett to the hospital,” Mr. Ossi told People magazine.

The lawyers have vehemently denied that the boy was unsupervised, saying two nannies were with him.

“[Jett] was spectacularly supervised,” Mr. McDermott told the Associated Press.

The media spotlight has also turned to the Travoltas' adherence to the Church of Scientology, the religious philosophy founded in 1954 by American science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.

Scientology does not recognize autism, which causes seizures in one in four cases, according to the National Institute of Health.

The family has denied that Jett was autistic, maintaining instead that at age 2, he was diagnosed with Kawasaki syndrome, a disease that affects young children, inflaming blood vessels and causing high fevers.

Ms. Preston came to believe Kawasaki syndrome – which is not typically associated with seizures – had been caused by the carpet cleaners she was using in the home.

The actress then led a public crusade against chemical-laden cleaning supplies and pesticides, and told People magazine that a detoxification program based on the church's teachings had helped Jett's health.

On Friday, Mr. Ossi told that Jett “has had seizures in the past, but they were controlled. This one couldn't be.”

The lawyers also told the celebrity website TMZ that the teen was suffering approximately one severe seizure a week.

They said Jett had been on anti-seizure medication for several years but that the family discontinued his prescription after it stopped working. The teen was reportedly taking Depakote.

Authorities did not release the results of the autopsy yesterday, but the Bahamian undertaker viewed the body and the death certificate.

Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham sent condolences to the family. He said the autopsy is a formality the Bahamas require to rule out foul play in cases of sudden death.

“We are heartbroken that our time with him was so brief,” Mr. Travolta and Ms. Preston said Sunday in a public statement. “We will cherish the time we had with him for the rest of our lives.”

Mr. Ossi told reporters that the actor is “heartbroken,” adding, “To bury your son is the worst thing you can ever do.”

It was believed that Jett was to be buried in Ocala, Fla., where his parents and sister live, and late yesterday evening, a black hearse travelled from the funeral home to the airport. Two white jets waited as police in dress uniforms blocked the tarmac.

But the hearse was a ploy, funeral home director Keith McSweeney told a news conference later in the evening. He said that Jett's remains were instead being cremated, and that the family would leave the Bahamas with his ashes today.

Mr. McSweeney told reporters he could not explain the reason for the decoy.

The Bahamas has seen its share of celebrity deaths: Both actress Anna Nicole Smith and her 20-year-old son Daniel died on the island and are buried there.

After a seven-week investigation, Ms. Smith's cause of death was deemed a “combined drug intoxication;” her son's cause of death, meanwhile, was “reserved” by a coroner.


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