Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 5:45 PM ET, 01/ 2/2009

John Travolta's 16-Year-Old Son Dies

By Liz Kelly

John Travolta and Kelly Preston at last year's Academy Awards. (Getty Images)

The Associated Press is reporting that the 16-year-old son of John Travolta and Kelly Preston is dead. Authorities in the Bahamas, where the family owns a vacation home, say Jett Travolta suffered a seizure on Friday morning while in the bathtub and fell, fatally hitting his head. He was declared dead. According to, authorities will be performing an autopsy to try to ascertain a specific cause of death.

Rumors that Jett suffered from autism have long swirled in Hollywood, though Travolta and Preston have never publicly admitted that Jett had ever been diagnosed with the condition, which is not officially recognized by the church of Scientology, of which they are members.

According to People magazine's Web site, Preston has said in past interviews that Jett suffered from many conditions, including asthma and Kawasaki disease, a condition caused by environmental toxins:

The condition, which usually affects children from ages 2 to 5, can cause inflammation of the arteries. Usually treatable, it can lead to lasting heart damage in rare cases.

Travolta and Preston also have an 8-year-old daughter, Ella Bleu.

By Liz Kelly  | January 2, 2009; 5:45 PM ET
Categories:  Celebrities  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: What Would Gwyneth Do... in the Bathroom
Next: Morning Mix: Travolta 'Heartbroken' at Son's Death


What a tragedy. Several sources report that he hit his head during a seizure - like during an epileptic fit - which makes more sense than the unheard of "dying from autism" story. I am sure some slimy anti-scientology bastards try to jump on the bandwaggon now, so here: Scientology does not interfere with medical treatment nor medication.

Posted by: JeffSmado | January 2, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

I see the Scientology whackos are quick to the defense on this one. We all saw Tom Cruise's anti-anti-depressant rant. Try another lie, that one isn't working anymore.

It is a fact that the Travoltas barely acknowledge the existence of Jett while talking about their daughter constantly. A constantly changing claim of his illness makes it more suspect that they are avoiding getting him treated. A REAL doctor diagnoses and treats. You usually know if it is cancer, or autism, or inflamed arteries. If the parents bother to get the kid to a real doctor instead of hiding him away to protect their church.

Posted by: epjd | January 2, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Jeff, I agree it is a tragedy. But, as a parent of an autistic teen, I have to point out that seizures are not uncommon with autism. Teens especially are prone to seizures. My daughter started having seizures when she was 13 but they are kept under control with medication. It's very important for these children to receive medication.

Posted by: corina2 | January 2, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

I see the anti-Scientology whackos are quick to the abuse on this one, even saying utterly stupid things like "he died from autism". We all saw Anonymous's anti-religious rant last year. Try another lie, that one isn't working anymore.

Posted by: JeffSmado | January 2, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Corina2, I agree. And I am sure Jett got the medication he needed, prescribed by people who are qualified, i.e. doctors. The problem is that all we know is that he died from bumping his head on a bath tub during a seizure (latest update in the media).

Posted by: JeffSmado | January 2, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Whether you agree with their beliefs or not, it is a tragedy to lose a child. Many sympathies to their family.

Posted by: jennifer6 | January 2, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

No, we know what the media is reporting he died from. There is no official cause of death until the coroner completes the autopsy.

And how can you say he was getting his medicaiton when the parents have publicly denied for years he even had autism. If you won't admit the problem, you cannot get the cure.

Posted by: epjd | January 2, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad you agree, Jeff. My daughter is an absolute delight and, whether or not Jeff had autism, I'd like people to know more about autism. These children have much to offer us. Very sad to lose a child.

Posted by: corina2 | January 2, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

I mean JETT, not Jeff...sorry

Posted by: corina2 | January 2, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm so sorry for Mr and Mrs. Travolta. No matter what your beliefs are regarding medicine, I'm sure they are suffering with this horrific loss. I truly grieve for both of them. I can't imagine the loss of my child. My prayers are with them.

Posted by: gsirles | January 2, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Why is everyone jumping on him about "hiding his son?" His son had some sort of illess, be it autism or something else and he was most likely protecting his son. Autistic childen/adults can be very sensitive to things including media attention.

He was a good father, passed off his beliefs I am sure he felt he did all he could do for his son. Lay off the hating of the mans religion and stop and think, he just lost his son! How terrible. They are in my thoughts

Posted by: OkieLori | January 2, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

My condolences to the Travoltas.

Something is whacked out, though. In the AP wire story, which the Post has reprinted, it says the caretaker found Jett late Friday morning, and he had last been seen going into the bathroom on Thursday. Thursday?? Your possibly autistic, possibly seizure-prone son disappears into the bathroom for maybe 12 hours and you don't start to wonder if everything is all right after about, oh I don't know, the first two hours?

-Snarky Squirrel

Posted by: 7900rmc | January 2, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

epjd, did it ever cross your mind that there might have been the slightest possibility that there are medical professionals who can assess a sickness and prescribe the correct medication? I must have missed that statement about your professional medical background, that you examined the boy yourself and came to the infallible conclusion that you alone can know what would have been the right treatment for him. In any case, you are right, we don't know the cause of death until the coroner is done.

Posted by: JeffSmado | January 2, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

This is heartbreaking news, so very sad.

Fairly or not, I assumed years ago that Jett must have had autism or something like it, because they used to trot him around as a baby and a toddler, and then he disappeared from view. Yet, it's not like they institutionalized him, they seem to be a close-knit family. I think people are at odds is that many of us with autistic children (my son has Asperger's and ADHD) feel that we should all be "out of the closet." Travolta claims Kawasaki and asthma and other health issues, but I haven't read about any symptoms that would lead to the detached affect Jett seemed to have. I'm not diagnosing, just saying there's more to the story, but in the end, it's none of our business. Won't keep the rest of us from wondering.

Posted by: KathleenHusseininMaine | January 2, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

How sad.

The story is a bit odd, but it's no time to second-guess parenting or other caregiving.

Posted by: dablues1 | January 2, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

JeffSmado - I'd guess that you are a Scientologist trying to preempt the criticism that the "church" is bound to face for its refusal to acknowledge autism as a bona fide disease. You mention that death due to autism is "unheard of."

Let me set your facts straight. Numerous scientific studies, including one by the Life Expectency Project in San Francisco and another by Mouridsen, et al, in Denmark have followed autistic patients and tracked their deaths. For starters, the death rate for autistic persons is about double the average death rate for their age group. Furthermore, one of the leading observed causes of death is related to epileptic seizures, accounting for nearly a third.

Mouridsen, et al. "Mortality and causes of death in autism spectrum disorders." Autism, Vol. 12, No. 4, 403-414 (2008)

Shavelle, et al. "Causes of death in autism." J Autism Dev Disord. 2001 Dec;31(6):569-76.

Posted by: phoenixshade | January 2, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Your guess is wrong, phoenixshade, I am just upset about those morons who have nothing better to do than to spread rumors, exploiting the death of a 16-year old boy. Thank you for the sources, but what are they for? Dying from autism is - literally - unheard of. In any case, it looks like Jett died from hitting his head on a bathtub. Or a seizure. Or both.

Posted by: JeffSmado | January 2, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

My deepest sympathies to John and Kelly for the lost of their first-born child. May they find strength, love and solace in the days ahead.

Posted by: suentom | January 2, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Funny, I've Googled your name and found numerous references to the name. Nearly all of them are linked to issues revolving around the church of Scientology, or else smearing the name of Scientology's number one enemy, Anonymous. I guess it's just a strange coincidence that you are using the same name and posting on the same subjects here. (You even mentioned Anon... where did THAT come from??)

The sources are for exactly what I said they are for: they provide PEER REVIEWED evidence that victims of autism die from seizure-related accidents at a rate approximately 100 times greater than the general public. So Jett's unfortunate death is - based on the evidence we have so far - consistent with the hypothesis that he suffered from autism.

Don't get me wrong, my heart goes out to the Travoltas. Whatever their religious beliefs, I would not wish such a tragedy on my worst enemy. However, the fact that their religion dismisses autism as a non-entity denied them the one resource that could have actually prevented this tragedy.

Posted by: phoenixshade | January 2, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

I know from having an epileptic friend that it is possible to die of a seizure at any time, even on medication.
However, the Scientologist link makes me think there may be more to this incident.
I also have to say, no offense to the Bahamas, but living in this part of the world, I have to say that taking a person with a chronic health problem here is always a risk. The health care system is not up to first world standards. My regrets to the family.

Posted by: possum_pouch | January 2, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

How tragic. My condolences to Jett's family and friends.

Posted by: overhereontheleft | January 2, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: kelly71 | January 2, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, kelly71. I completely agree. Let's stop the fishing about death causes and see what really happened.

Posted by: JeffSmado | January 2, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

I lost my daughter in a car accident ten years ago. It’s a gut-wrenching experience that can’t even be imagined unless you’ve gone through it. Please, express your sympathies and suppress the vitriol toward the Travoltas’ religion. Stop being so cruel during this time of intense grief. My heart goes out to John and Kelly.

Posted by: oneseaker | January 2, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

My daughter , Carrie, died of SUDEP-Sudden Unexplained Death due to Epilepsy on May 6, 2006. She was on her medication but at 33 years of age, she died. The paramedics tried so hard to revive her, but could not. There is so little research done on this and it is not well known. I only read about it after the fact. In my grief, I was trying to find answers on the internet-in many other countries-England and Australia, for example, it is more well known. But doctors here do not tell you about it. My daughter had seizures from age 5, but I never knew about SUDEP.
It is one of the missions of my remaining life on this planet to make this terrible disease more important in the research community and to encourage parents to educate themselves about the possibility of SUDEP. It is a tragic, horrific loss to the family. To all of us, really, because we have lost a 'better angel' on this old earth.
A person on anti-seizure medication may, in fact, have 'breakthrough' seizures. So...even on medicine you cannot be sure they will prevent every seizure. This is especially true with females due to hormone fluctuations. The side effects of the anti-seizure drugs are often very debilitating, too.
It is a horrible, vicious disease.

Posted by: montana3 | January 2, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

kelly71: There is nothing cruel about holding the Church's attitude towards autism (if indeed he had autism, which seems likely but is not proven) largely responsible for the fact that Jett did not receive treatment that could have reduced the chance of autism-related seizures. It isn't an "accusation" to make this statement about the church; it is a fact that is reflected in the Tone Scale (inability to communicate is close to zero), and in Scientologist websites perporting that autism was "successfully" overcome by running CCHs, Recalls, vitamins, and other such pseudo-scientific nonsense.

By the way, you OSA folks need to at least learn how to use the caps lock key. I can always tell a new "handler" by their constant shouting. Maybe they should put it in the training manual or something.

Posted by: phoenixshade | January 2, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

montana3: I'm very sorry to hear about your loss. I have an aunt who also died recently, in 2003, due to a seizure disorder. She had petit mal seizures occasionally since adolescence, but while showering, she apparently suffered a grand mal seizure and fell, hitting her head and losing consciousness. Her hair blocked the drain, and she drowned. She is only 4 years older than me, and since I was raised by my grandparents, she was more like a sister than an aunt. She was 37 when she died.

This is why I have a problem when Scientology attempts to deny autism as a disease that carries with it a high risk of seizure-related death. It's not that I don't have any sympathy for the Travoltas; indeed I do; I've lost a loved one in almost exactly the same way. However, I don't expect that the Travoltas will be reading these comments, so I think I have more of a responsibility to educate any Scientologist who reads this that autism *is* a disease, it *can* cause premature death, it *can* be treated by medical professionals, and most importantly it can *not* be audited away.

Posted by: phoenixshade | January 2, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Hey Jeff, I kinda think Kelly was talking about you. So please do what she suggests and just stop. Do you have kids? Have you any clue as to what they are going through? I feel so sorry for the Travoltas right now that I have chills. They are in my prayers.

Posted by: Sister727 | January 2, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

phoenixshade: I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved auntie. It is such a hard road, isn't it?

My post was not a response to any other posts. I was just musing about my own experience. This event has brought up the trauma of that day for me, when my daughter died. It is helpful to have a place to come to to 'talk.' It certainly points to the fact that so little is known about this very ancient disease. And yes, I agree, it IS a disease. Our society tends to hide it away, to brush it aside. We really need more research to find ways to control it better.

Posted by: montana3 | January 2, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

In the main post, I stated my sympathies for the Travoltas. I can feel for their loss while at the same time condemning the choices that led to it. If a parent lost a child because they failed to buckle the kid in a car seat and there was an accident, I would feel for the parents while still pointing out the idiocy of not using a child seat. Just as I point out that belonging to a religion that -- through its OWN teachings denies the existence of disease -- can contribute to the child's death from a disease.

To those who have posted their personal losses here, my deepest condolences.

Posted by: epjd | January 2, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

montana3: Yes, it is a hard road indeed, especially for me at this time of year... she died on Dec 30, almost exactly 5 years ago. She left behind an infant son who will never know firsthand what a wonderful and caring person his mother was, and two teenaged children who *do* know and had that person taken away.

I never know what to say to someone else who has suffered a similar loss. A million trite expressions come to mind, some of them more or less true. Does it get any easier? Well, episodes of grief become less frequent, so it gets easier to live your life, but when they do come, the intensity can be completely overwhelming and as fresh as if the intervening time didn't exist.

It's good that you've turned your attention to raising awareness of SUDEP. I know that directing that energy into useful channels certainly helped me to cope with the loss. Then again, so did activities that brought the grief straight to my heart. I remember just a few months after her passing loading up my mp3 player with a bunch of her favorite songs from when we were growing up and just listening in the dark. Yes, it was painful, but it was also cathartic and a necessary step in the healing process.

All the best to you and your family, and thank you for sharing your story and spreading awareness.

Posted by: phoenixshade | January 2, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Montana3 and Phoenixshade, you have my sympathy. I lost my sister to a seizure when she was young. It is traumatic. I feel very sad for the Travoltas.

Posted by: red_hawk1968 | January 2, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

What epjd wrote at 9:51 PM.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | January 2, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Dear John & Kelly,
I am deeply saddened by your loss
I too know what it's like to have a child with a rare disease & seizures
Mine has MORPHEA, & it affects the right side of his brain, which causes him to have seizures
It is a life long struggle for me & him
I worry each & every day what might happen to him
He has had several close calls, & has hurt himself lots of times
My heart, prayers, & symphaty go out to you in this time of sorrow
Xs & Os from Texas

Posted by: lucy2u | January 2, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

I think its very sad that some people here, with no regard for the family, no regard for the truth, (The church does not prevent medical treatment, that is an Internet myth), and no regard for waiting to hear what the authorities have to say, use this tragedy as an opportunity to spew their hateful nonsense. They have my empathy and I wish that they may find purpose in their lives. Additionally, my deep sympathy to the Travolta family.

Posted by: ryanator | January 2, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Very sad...

Posted by: chunche | January 2, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

All the speculation and arguing about the family's religious beliefs and whatever diseases the poor young man had are meaningless here. This family has lost a beloved child in a tragic manner. My condolences to the Travoltas. May the tight and loving bonds this family seems to have sustain them.

Posted by: KellyBelle22 | January 3, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

As a person that needs medication, its a fact that Scientology, as does Christian-Science, and many other religions,like Jehovah Witnesses, really have a problem with medication, and its also a fact that no one wants to be excommunicated from their church, so you follow rules. And Scientology is a cult. I have no doubt that Travoltas were good parents, the question arises, could they have been better parents? Since I don't follow the circus that is called Hollywood, I don't know their lives, but I do wonder, because of their church affiliation.

Posted by: comdien | January 3, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

At a time like this, when they have lost a son, things like their personal beliefs on Scientology and medical treatments are trivial. John, Kelly and Ella, there is nothing in the world right now that anyone can say to bring you any comfort at this tragic time. Things like "he is with God now" and comments of the like are well intentioned but seem meaningless when you are so devastated. All we, your fans can say is that we are so terribly sorry for your loss, we are thinking of you and love you! You have a very rough road ahead of you. The road to healing and trying to cope with your loss. Remembering your son, hold on to each other, love each other deeply and just do the best that you can do to move forward and get through this time together as a family. Thinking of you with my deepest sympathy.

Posted by: DStewart717 | January 3, 2009 1:20 AM | Report abuse

To the Travolta family.

My deepest sympathy in your loss of your son, Jett. As a parent it is so difficult to lose a child and words are hard to say that will adequately help your deep sorrow. Just know there are a lot of people out here who love you and are saying prayers for you. Rest in peace, Jett.

Posted by: kamiah | January 3, 2009 3:15 AM | Report abuse

"According to People magazine's Web site . . .."

Now there's a solid source.

Rest in peace, Jett. God bless the Travolta family.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | January 3, 2009 5:31 AM | Report abuse

It's obvious that this kid died victim of her parents religious beliefs or negligence.

Posted by: Paul51 | January 3, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Wow, notice how few regular posters are here. Makes me wonder if the parents told the Church first. Especially since the very first post was from someone defending Scientology before anyone had questioned it.

Guess Scientology can also provoke a BKD.

Posted by: epjd | January 3, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

The article says that Kawasaki's is caused by environmental toxins. In fact the disease is poorly understood and the causes are unknown (, although toxins are one of the speculated causes.

Posted by: lseltzer | January 3, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

My heart goes out to the family who has lost a child. People should know that medications can reduce the frequency of seizures but it cannot always eliminate seizures. Many people who suffer seizures usually die of seizure related events. I caution people to be compassionate and careful in the statements that they make. Words do hurt.

Posted by: shopgirl1 | January 3, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I reviewed family pictures of the travoltas and see that Jett looked normal until he reached his teens. Most recently, he was shown moving from the airport to the limousine, and his father was holding his hand. Not only overweight, his face showed little emotion, and his behavior was not that of a normal 16 year old (what 16 year old holds his father's hand?)

Having said that, I do not know what his illness is (was). Could be autism. Could be childhood schizophrenia. Could be complex partial seizure disorder. Could be a malignant or benign brain tumor.

What it is not, is kawasaki syndrome.

It is unknown whether treatment could have helped--depends on the diagnosis. Sadly, it appears that he did not get properly diagnosed. Due to denial? Religion? Dunno.

Posted by: VAstephanie | January 3, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

It is ignorant and insensitive to post comments about the Travolta's parenting choices with no personal knowledge of them and their family. It is unclear what Jett's condition was or what choices they made for him. I have no doubt that they always did what they thought was best for him. And please note that there is no consensus that Autism is a "disease." It is a neurological condition, that may or may not need to be "cured," depending on whom you talk to. Also, many parents choose not to medicate their children because often the side effects of medication are worse that than the symptoms of the original condition.

Posted by: onemom | January 3, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

My sympathies to all who have lost their precious children. I lost my Oldest Son when he was 22 it was very sudden. First a seizure. Then a brain aneuryism. Cutting off the life support was the most difficult thing I've ever had to do.

My prayers for comfort to John and Kelly. There is nothing natural about the loss of a child. Nothing will ever be the same for you. I'm so very sorry for the loses on this subject. Tragic, and painful feelings will get better with time only, and even then you still have your moments of grieving for the rest of you life. God Bless.

Posted by: sheilahowison | January 3, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

My fourteen year old autistic daughter died in similar circumstances. My heart goes out to the family who will be dealing with the worst thing you can go through, losing a child. I am not a Scientologist but maybe they were just trying to be optimistic about their sons condition which isn't cured no matter what treatment is given. I am sure they loved their son and gave him their full attention. My daughter died while I was in the next room so neglect has nothing to do with it.

Posted by: susand1 | January 3, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I know someone who knows the Travolta's very well and and has been to their house many times. According to this person, Jett was SEVERELY autistic. In fact, this person was amazed that the Travolta's could so easily dismiss his autistic behavior and not seek treatment. It's a bigger tragedy because the Travolta's could have brought a lot of media attention and money to the treatment and cure of autism, if they hadn't been so caught up in the cult of Scientology.

Posted by: MarylandJ | January 3, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Read this...

Posted by: pjkiger1 | January 3, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

One needn't be suffering from any type of illness to slip in the tub, hit one's head, and die as a result. In any event, its a terrible thing for a parent to go through. Period.

Posted by: jelo | January 3, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Ryanator: Actually, there have been no hateful posts her against Scientology - only against expected ones. Someone, in defense of S, called others "slimy anti-scientology bastards". But I have only seen expressions of sympathy and the need to try and help others who might not know how to act if they have a sick relative.

My deepest sympathy to posters who have lost loved ones. Losing a child must be hell on earth.

If the boy was suffering from some kind of autism, he might have been very sensitive to disturbances from the environment, and therefore shielded from journalists, papparazzis and the general public. I too find it odd that he was last seen entering the bathroom on Thursday and not found (by staff?) until Friday - but those reports may be inaccurate. I can't imagine nobody checking on him going to bed.

Posted by: asoders22 | January 3, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

A love for a child is never broken by a parent or loved ones due to death but it can feel like a loved one's heart breaks frequently when faced with the death of a child.

My thoughts and prayers are with all who are experiencing the grief and pain of a death of a child.

Dr. Terrie Modesto

Posted by: tearcenter | January 3, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

My heart go's out to the family...I will pray for you guys and your son.

Posted by: LongTimeSkinsFan | January 3, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

JeffSmado must be the Thetan assigned to monitor the Celebritoloty blog.

Go home, JeffSmado,

What kind of caretaker did young Jett require? Is it the same kind that dogged Katie Holmes before, during, and after The Wedding?


Anyhow, the sorrow at the boy's death is felt by all of us.



Posted by: bmschumacher | January 3, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Something is very odd here. Everything reported so far points to an accidental death. However, it is now being reported that 6-7 investigators are assigned to the case. Now, even assuming that they want to be careful in a high profile case, doesn't that seem excessive for a slip and fall in the bathtub?

Posted by: epjd | January 3, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

ep, Mudge, jelo, it's a Saturday, go out and enjoy your day.

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | January 3, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

My prayers are for JETT. Many loving parents, who care for the well being of their children with autism and seizures (also ADD, ADHD etc.) have turned to Neurofeedback therapy and had great success. Neurotherapy is not a medication therapy, I certainly understand the hesitance to medication for good reason - the fourth leading cause of death (2.2 million people every year) is adverse reaction to medications.
But, as a parent to blatantly ignore the suffering of your child, that to me is a crime against humanity.
I hope that this tragedy and his death was not in vain. He suffered enough for his short life, may he rest in peace.

Posted by: justathought5 | January 3, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

It was evident in the few photos and films of Jett Travolta that he was mentally disabled. He had to be led by the hand, he had to be strapped into a car seat, he looked like he was unaware of his whereabouts. Did he have autism? I'd say it was highly probable. Autistic children frequently other medical problems in addition to their mental disorder. At any rate, the photos also revealed that he was NOT getting the help he needed. All he had in the way of "help" were nannies and handlers who were paid to look after him. And what a great job they did! The poor boy supposedly went to the bathroom, had a seizure, hit his head on the bathtub, and expired. It was hours before anyone deigned to try and find out where he was.

Jett Travolta needed help. He wasn't getting it because his parents were Scientologists. They would not give him the help he needed because they didn't see fit to do so. What a tragedy! This boy didn't have to die. He died because he was denied the medical attention he needed. John Travolta and Kelly Preston are entirely to blame for the premature death of their son.

Posted by: cynthiacher | January 3, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I guess Jett is up in the heavens meeting L Ron Hubbard right now...

My condolences to his parents and his younger sister. It seems likely that Jett had autism, based upon numerous written reports and rumors that have circulated over the years. Rumors generally aren't true -- unless they involve Hollywood.

If Jett suffered from autism, shame on his parents for denying him the care and support and understanding that those young children afflicted by it deserve.

Posted by: lingering_lead | January 3, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Can everyone calm down? Nobody knows what medical help the boy may actually have received. Something was obviously wrong with him, but let's not diagnose him from afar - or have opinions on his parents. If the police are assigned to the death, and there will be an autopsy, the truth will eventually be known.

Posted by: asoders22 | January 3, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Dorkus, what are you doing here then?

Me, I'm just waiting for the playoffs to start. Suddenly, I am a Falcons fan.

Posted by: epjd | January 3, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Its too late Dorkus. I unfortunately made the mistake of going to Wal-Fart (on Slaughter) to fill a prescription for mr. jelo, ended up getting stalked by Creepy Old Man, and it took the pharmacy 45 minutes to get the damn thing filled. And from Wal-Fart, to Costco, to HEB, EVERYONE was moving in slo-mo, and I have a headache.

Posted by: jelo | January 3, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

It's a beautiful day in Curmudgeon's neighborhood: sunny and temps in the high 40s.

I woke up late, posted my comment this morning (or was it early afternoon?), and went off to the grocery store.

It's been a fine day, but I feel sad for the Travoltas.

Thanks for looking out for us, Dorkus. As Tribal Chieftan your work is never done, I guess .

Smooches to all.

Your friend,


Posted by: bmschumacher | January 3, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Who are you people to judge this man and woman at this most difficult time! You guys really need to get a life and tend to it. Some WAPO posters are so engulfed in the lives of others that I'm sure their life is falling apart around them. Whatever John and Kelly's religious beliefs are, they just lost their child and that overrides anything that any of us believe about their religion. I hope that none of you are ever faced with the reality that they are facing right now--losing a child has to be the most devastating act in anyone's life. You people need to stop trying to tell folks how to live their lives, and most of all where to live that life and get a life of your own! Sick azz individuals.

Posted by: Beingsensible | January 3, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

If he went to the bathroom on Thursday and was found unconscious on Friday, didn' anyone wonder where he was on Thursday night? If they saw him go in the bathroom Thurs then wouldn't they have wondered why he didn't come out? It's strange, unless they assumed he went to bed. Not sure what time it was.

Posted by: ellengoodman6 | January 3, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

know someone who knows the Travolta's very well and and has been to their house many times. According to this person, Jett was SEVERELY autistic. In fact, this person was amazed that the Travolta's could so easily dismiss his autistic behavior and not seek treatment. It's a bigger tragedy because the Travolta's could have brought a lot of media attention and money to the treatment and cure of autism, if they hadn't been so caught up in the cult of Scientology.

Posted by: MarylandJ
Shame on the "person you know" for having disucsions with you about the Travolta's personal life after they have invited him/her into their personal space. That person must be just like you, someone who finds it so easy to casually discuss the personal lives of of people in such open space. You really need to check yourself and your friends...actually, I wouldn't consider that person a friend if I were you; they are probably discussing your personal life to others too.

Posted by: Beingsensible | January 3, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

For all those that are attacking the parents for not medicating since they are Scientologists, I am not keen on the religion but I do know a bit about the Kawasaki syndrome. Kawasaki can cause complications with symptoms of extremely high fever of 103 to 105 plus for many days, esp when the child's brain is developing which may have caused a slight autism. My son at 10 months, was treated early for Kawasaki (even though at first he was misdiagnosed 3 times in emergency hospitals), but finally diagnosed and treated with aspirin, benedyrl to start, then immune globulan for several days, early enough to not have severe lasting results, for which we are lucky. Now at 3 years he is a smart cookie; he can talk in almost complete sentences, is very caring and social, can do his abc's and can count to 10. But note to other parents, and since there was recently another celebrity child diagnosed with Kawasaki in which the story contained an incorrectly prescribed amoxicillan prior to the onset of the severe rash, then later was diagnosed with Kawaski syndrome (the non bumpy rash that is pretty bad where the entire body has been burned, and that is what you see..what you dont see is the heart arteries dialed and arteries and capillaries in the entire body severely overworked), I have to add this similar experience: since at first my son did not have a severe burn like rash until amoxicillan was prescribed after his 3rd day of just high fever, and since his first dosage of IV of aspirin and benedryl rid his rash in 4 hours (this was his initial treatment for Kawasaki), to this day I still suspect his Kawasaki syndrome did not develp until he took amoxicillan. He had taken amox when he had been incorrectly diagnosed at first with high fever and an ear ache (later they determined he did not have the ear infection just red ears due to the fever). I really think and am worried why the docs never did pursue further the possibility that he had an allergic reaction to amoxicillan. (Perhaps the idea was not in the books so to speak..) But I have met more and more cases of children with this unknown Kawasaki disease, with the curious added fact that they had been prescribed amoxicillan on one of their first days of high fever... when the rash wasn't yet present.
My condolences go out to the Travoltas and Mrs. Preston as the child's Kawasaki disease is made only worse by having to explain to everyone the unknown suspected causes (that surely need to be investigated more), and the very real effects, which as with any fever and heart disease can take on many horrible side effects such as autism, heart disease, etc.

Posted by: bebesvin | January 3, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Just out of linguistic curiosity - when did you Americans start using "you need" when you really mean "you should"? I see it all the time.

Is it considered more polite, maybe?

Posted by: asoders22 | January 3, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I just wanted to add, that even non-Scientologists (I am again not keen on the religion) choose not to medicate their children, esp when the children have possibly had side effects (Kawasaki disease) and extreme allergies to toxins and generally assumed safe medication (amomixillan). To explain further, with my child, (if you read the prior submittion), I am definately not allowing amoxicillan as a medication, as I really believe it was the cause of the Kawasaki syndrome. Prior to taking the amox, my son just had the extremely high almost scarlett like fever of 103 to 105 for several days, enough to be admitted into the hospital for sure, but not made worse with the horrible symptoms of Kawasaki disease, in which the arteries of the body and heart are overly extended causing for some life long damage, and for an unfortunate percentage, fatalities.

Posted by: bebesvin | January 3, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Tomasa | January 3, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Yo, fatties, carm down.

Go read the title of this blog. Then read previous postings. There are no sacred cows here. We snark. It's the raison d'etre for this blog. If you can't handle it, no one is making you click the link, read the posts or post here.

Posted by: epjd | January 3, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

"Michael McDermott, a lawyer and close friend...described Travolta and Preston as 'night owls' – the actor often goes to sleep at around 5 AM.

Assuming a parent isn't working graveyard shift, this sounds fishy. Didn't Jett normally attend school, where he'd need to adhere to a conventional daytime schedule? Besides, you'd figure $cientology would have a cure for his parents' insomnia, right? Unless John stays up super-late in order to engage in the sort of extracurricular activities he's been rumored to enjoy.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | January 3, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, what epjd said!! Geez, dudes, some of you are sucking the joy right out of our serious study of Celebritology.

Frankly, I feel no need to prostrate myself in grief or be respectful of the family just because some kid who I barely knew existed has died. Of course I feel sorry for his parents but the details surrounding this are too delicious to ignore: potential Scientology-driven avoidance of medical care, possible egregious caretaking lapses, his father's bizarre hairdos . . .

And that is odd about 6 or 7 investigators, but you know the old joke: how many Bahamian detectives does it take to investigate a slip-and-fall? Punch lines welcome; I'm still mulling it over.

Posted by: 7900rmc | January 3, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Jett was very special for the Travolta family. His family loved him no matter what problems he may or may not have had. There are alot of you assuming things that you know nothing about. The Travolta's are just like any other family, with the same problems as the rest of us. The difference between us and them is that they have fame and money. But they love the same way that we do. The beliefs of the Travolta's should not be an issue when dealing with the death of their child. KNOCK IT OFF!!!!! Let this family grieve in peace. What they choose to do is none of our business. The death of a loved one is hard enough without having to defend your beliefs to the world. My prayers and thoughts are with this grieving family.

Posted by: bmrandell | January 3, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

A Falcons fan ep? I feel so betrayed. Well, it's not like there's any other team in the playoffs worth cheering for.

jelo, did I know you live in town? At least tell me you got to enjoy some of today.

Me, I was kayaking on Town Lake, I think this about the best thing I saw today:

Okay, no more celebrity snark for today.

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | January 3, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Awww turtles. I wuv turtles.

Yeah, well, I wanted to feel good about cheering for a team for once this year. So, Falcons it is. But, a rookie qb has never started the Super Bowl, so I don't have a lot of hope they make it that far. But, it's still farther than that other team.

Posted by: epjd | January 3, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

My heart goes out to the Travoltas. The worst loss must be the loss of a child.

I am saddened and shocked that they are being filmed by paparazzi in the wake of this tragedy. I hope that the media allows this family the privacy that they need to mourn an overwhelming loss.

Posted by: ANetliner | January 3, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse


They look like Western Painted turtles.

I am the proud Turtle Mama of two Painted tuttles (one Western and one Eastern): Kevin and Jason, although we think that Kevin may in fact be Kevin Ann.

Yours in the turtle tank,


Posted by: bmschumacher | January 3, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Look, the Travolta's are very public people with very public lives, relatively speaking. They are Hollywood actors who have made gazillions by being in the public eye. As such, we have every right to discuss them. WE didn't invade their living room, they invited us into it.

They are Scientologists, and as such have a belief that much of the medical community -- and the treatments and protocols within the medical community -- are misguided. It's not much of a stretch to look at Jett and deduct that he suffered from something. Maybe it was a "syndrome" that most often occurs in very young children and ended up causing long-term detrimental effects well into his adolescence.

Or maybe it was autism. And maybe because Scientologists are indisputably whacky as hell, the Travolta's listened to L Ron Hubbard and Tom Cruise and decided not to seek treatment for his autism because they don't recognize autism as a disease or condition, and instead masked it under some phantom illness. Who knows? All I know is the Travoltas have given us permission to discuss their lives because they have decided to live much of them in front of us for the past 30 years.

So please take the sanctimony and shove it. Some of us do have children, and some of our children do suffer from disease and illness. We love them no more or no less than our other children. However, you damn sure better believe that we seek treatment for our children when it is needed....

Posted by: lingering_lead | January 3, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

It is out of line to criticize John and Kelly Travolta at this juncture. The Travoltas have lost a child, an unspeakable tragedy. At minimum, allow them the dignity of mourning in peace. Even better, say a prayer for the Travoltas and for Jett, and extend your condolences in their time of need.

Should Bahamian authorities issue finding of wrongdoing with respect to Jett's death, there will be plenty of time to criticize. In the absence of such a finding, the Travoltas need your compassion, not your condemnation.

To the Travoltas: While words are inadequate at such a time, my heart goes out to you on the death of your beloved son, Jett.

Posted by: ANetliner | January 3, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Yikes. A day away and it's a BKD. The whole thing is just sad. Sad that the Travoltas have lost a child, sad that Scientology is again the topic.

Frankly, there's only so much you say about that crazy quasi-religion (or apparently not, with 81 comments before mine on a Saturday). RIP, Jett.

As for the poster who wondered why so many investigators, I imagine it's more the high profile of his parents than suspicion of foul play. After the over-publicity of errors during a certain murder trial in the 90s, I'm sure all officials are dotting every i and crossing every t just in case. Moving on. . . .

"Well, it's not like there's any other team in the playoffs worth cheering for." Dorkus, I respectfully disagree. GO RAVENS!

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | January 3, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Many commenters on this thread assume that the Travoltas "invited us into their living room" or believe that the intimate details of their lives are fodder for public entertainment. I couldn't disagree more.

Yes, the Travoltas are fairly public people and yes, the media pursue their personal details avidly and publish them indiscriminately. But don't confuse the media images with the lives behind them and don't have the temerity to assume that media coverage means that you know someone and have the knowledge or insight to criticize their choices or beliefs, especially in a time of great personal tragedy.

Remember that celebrities are, despite their fame, wealth, beauty or talent, people whose thoughts and feelings are no less important than yours. It's one thing to gossip about a film role, a photograph, an error or an unguarded moment. It is quite another thing to condemn or criticize in the wake of a tragic death.

Posted by: ANetliner | January 3, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

You all realize that the Travoltas aren't reading this Celebritology blog and the related comments. I think it's OK if those of us onlookers want to comment, gossip or even make snide comments.

Posted by: lingering_lead | January 3, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Leave the Travoltas alwone. They are my 2nd family. U R all just mean. They do 2 read Celebritology and they feel sad every1 is so mean to them.

EPJ ummm LuvTravolta.

Posted by: epjd | January 3, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Dorkus--I do live in town, and I've also lived in Mt. Airy and Annapolis, MD, hence the WaPo lurking & commenting. I'm a tad unhappy to be back in Austin. The good jobs are back east.

And I'm heading to Town Lake tomorrow morning for a five mile run.

Posted by: jelo | January 3, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

"John Travolta's Alien Notion":
Yes indeedy, Lizards, the Travoltas have as every bit as high a CQ (cruisiness quotient) as Wee Tom et al. They pose their marital bliss like any other couple that doth protest too much. And they (and $cientology) are only too eager to use their celebrity to proseletyze for their bogus religion (Kelly liked to claim it helped with Jett's problems, after their obsessive-compulsive carpet-cleaning period). Ah, but then when $cientology precepts bite followers on the butt, $cientology flaks cry foul when this fact is pointed out. To wit: the very first poster on this thread was clearly one of their own, deployed stat in hopes of implementing damage control. But Celebritology Lizards are never fooled!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | January 3, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

I think it's so strange that I didn't even know they had a son but knew about the daughter.

My condolences. I can't imagine the pain of losing a child - especially one so young.

Posted by: rlj1 | January 4, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

This is very sad. Jett was apparently off all antiseizure medication at the time of his death. As a 3rd-year resident physician, I can't imagine any physician recommending that Jett be taken off all antiseizure medications, considering the extremely high frequency of his seizures.

The standard of care would have been to take a blood Depakote level and see if the level is perhaps too low, and then to add an additional anti-seizure medication if Depakote was not enough--not to stop Depakote and go with no medications at all. Especially if Depakote had worked for 4 years, which other site say that it had. Unfortunately, many antiseizure medications are also psychiatric medications, used for mood stablization and Bipolar disorder (aka manic depressive disorder), and Scientology teaching may be discouraging these medications.

It definitely makes one question whether Jett was receiving proper medical or psychiatric care. Unfortunately Scientology does not believe in the diagnosis of Autism, or any psychiatric illness for that matter. From reports in the news, Jett was nonverbal. In an interview with John Travolta he seemed to be blaming his son's problems on Kawasaki's disease, which does not make children nonverbal and is associated with rare acute seizures due to fever but not chronic seizure disorders. If reports of Jett's symptoms are correct, then it is clear that Jett did have Autism, and I'm sure this would have already been diagnosed with this by past physicians. I was horrified to come across this post by Kelly Preston advocating against the use of psychiatric medication in children:

All this being said, it is clear from interviews that John Travolta and Kelly Preston loved Jett more than just about anything. As adults who have reached the pinnacle of success in our society, and who apparently do not suffer from any mental illness, I'm sure that Travolta, Preston, as well as Tom Cruise and others, do not need any psychiatric medications. But I wish they would realize that there are others in this world who are less fortunate and my be helped by this type of medication. Sadly, it also seems true that Jett was a special needs child and the belief system of fundamentalist Scientology may have interfered with him getting the care he desperately needed. Religion can be wonderful thing, but when people start ignoring medical advice based on their religious beliefs they are heading into dangerous territory. May Jett rest in peace and may John and Kelly find peace in dealing with this terrible tragedy. But as a society, maybe we can learn some lessons from this tragic and apparently preventable death.

Posted by: jbad5 | January 5, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Mr and Mrs. Travolta must be suffering in agonizing pain knowing their denial of mental illness(autism) and treatment thereof as a result of their scientology rules and regulations contributed to their poor sons death. Maybe now he will open up his eyes and give up that fairy tale and cult

Posted by: swampfox1 | January 5, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I hope this gossip about this all ends. It's a private thing, let them mourn in peace. Who cares what religion he belongs to, or how the child died. What if anything was "wrong" with him. He was his son, his heart, his soul, same as our children are ours. Rest in peace and my heart and thougths go out to the family.

Posted by: jayentom | January 6, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Dear John, Kelly, and Ella,
Since last Friday I have constantly been thinking of all of you. I have wanted to contact you and share my thoughts. Please know you are all in my thoughts and prayers. I am extremely sorry for your loss. I truly know the depth of your pain and sorrow. I lost my 19 year old son Eric to Acute Leukemia in August 2007. He was diagnosed in February 2007. It has been a hard journey for me as I know it will also be for you. The pain and grief aches terribly. Please remember that you are not alone. Hold on to happy memories and photos of Jett. Please try to be strong and loving of and for each other.
Fran Rothstein
Suffolk County, NY

Posted by: franniemae52 | January 8, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company