A decade after his death, 65-year-old John Travolta shared a sweet message for his son, Jett, who passed away at the age of 16 in 2009. Travolta posted a picture on Instagram of a portrait of his son made by a fan, with the caption, “A painting a fan made of my son Jett! Happy birthday my son I love you!”
John and wife Kelly Preston welcomed their son on April 13, 1992. Jett, who would have been 27-year-old, passed away during a family vacation in the Bahamas after experiencing a seizure. The teen accidentally hit his head on a bathtub and was declared dead at the Rand Memorial Hospital. The family later shared that Jett had autism, which is what most likely caused the seizure, in hopes of educating others about autism awareness. In 2003, Preston revealed that her son had Kawasaki Syndrome, which is a condition associated with inflammation of the arteries, and was diagnosed when he was 2-years-old.
During an interview after his son’s death, Travolta called the incident one of “the worst thing” that has happened in his life. Travolta, along with his wife, stated that what saved the family was the church of Scientology, which helped them deal with the loss. After Jett’s death, the family received heavy criticism from the public, several stating that the teenager’s death could have been avoided by anti-seizure medication that could have controlled the attacks. Scientology highly discourages any type of medication, believing drugs can damage the body and mind over time.
According to Scientology.org, the religion offers a “precise path leading to a complete and certain understanding of one’s true spiritual nature.” The religion addresses the spirit itself, rather the body or mind, and believes that Man is more than a product of his genes or environment. Despite the criticism, both parents repeatedly denied the speculations, stating the boy’s death was indeed a tragic accident.
Preston also took to social media to honor her son on his birthday, sharing a few photos of Jett with the family. Many have flooded the comment on both pages with loving and heartfelt messages toward their late son. A week prior to Jett’s birthday, Preston also shared a photo of him in honor of Autism Awareness Month.
Travolta and Preston married in 1991 and share two other children, Ella Bleu, 19, and Benjamin, 8. Ben was born after Jett passed away, which both parents said he was a great help in healing the hearts of not just both of them, but their daughter Ella. During an interview with Good Morning America, Travolta shared how Ben helped the family become closer, stating, “certainly having little Ben has been a beautiful kind of glue for us to re-bond after the tremendous loss. He’s given the house a renewed spirit and purpose.”
Happy Birthday up in the clouds, Jett.