Kelly Preston Dies of Breast Cancer at 57: ‘She Was a Bright, Beautiful and Loving Soul’
“On the morning of July 12, 2020, Kelly Preston, adored wife and mother, passed away following a two-year battle with breast cancer,” a family representative tells PEOPLE exclusively.
“Choosing to keep her fight private, she had been undergoing medical treatment for some time, supported by her closest family and friends,” the family rep says. “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 is survived by her husband John Travolta and their children: daughter Ella, 20, and 9-year-old son Benjamin. Son Jett died at age 16 in January 2009.
Preston, who was born Kelly Kamalelehua Smith on October 13, 1962, in Honolulu, Hawaii, studied acting at the University of Southern California and launched her career in 1985 with her first major movie role in Mischief after several minor roles in television shows, including For Love and Honor.
In the next few years, Preston starred in films such as SpaceCamp (1986), Twins (1988), Jerry Maguire (1996) and For Love of the Game (1999). Preston’s final film role was in the 2018 film Gotti in which she played Victoria Gotti, the wife of Mafia boss John Gotti, who was portrayed on screen by Travolta.
Along with her career, Preston treasured her decades-long romance with husband Travolta.
On New Year’s Eve 1991, Travolta proposed at the Palace Hotel restaurant in Gstaad, Switzerland, with a six-carat yellow-and-white diamond ring. When they got married on Sept. 5, 1991, Preston was two months pregnant with their son Jett. (The couple later got married for a second time on U.S. soil in Daytona Beach, Florida.)
Last September, Travolta and Preston celebrated their 28th wedding anniversary. “Happy Anniversary to my wonderful wife ♥️ @therealkellypreston,” the Grease actor wrote on Instagram at the time.
Preston wrote a heartfelt note to her husband, sharing: “To my dearest Johnny, the most wonderful man I know. You have given me hope when I have felt lost, loved me patiently and unconditionally… made me laugh harder than any other human being possible… shared the most beautiful highs and at times low. You’re a dream Daddio and make life so much fun!! I trust my love with you implicitly… with you I know I will always be okay no matter what happens… I love you forever and completely. Happy 28th Anniversary @johntravolta.”
In 2018, Preston told PEOPLE about one of the couple’s last romantic moments. “I think it’s when Johnny just whisks me away, and we’ll jump on the airplane and go out to dinner, and I don’t know where we’re going. It’s good to be married to a pilot!” she said.
And the mother of three adored her children. “I’ve wanted babies since I was 9,” Preston told InStyle in 2001.
Their son Jett was born in April 1992 and daughter Ella was born in April 2000. Following Jett’s tragic death, son Ben was born in November 2010 after Preston and Travolta tried for three years to conceive.
Preston’s final Instagram post was a family selfie in celebration of Father’s Day in June. “Happy Father’s Day to the best one I know, we love you,” she captioned the photo which starred their son Ben and daughter Ella. In addition, Preston posted a black-and-white portrait of Travolta and Jett.