John Travolta broke fans' hearts on Tuesday with a heartfelt tribute to his late son, Jett, on what would have been his 29th birthday. The actor lost Jett in 2009 to a seizure, and also lost his wife, Kelly Preston to cancer last year. Fans were feeling for the 67-year-old widower on what they assumed was a difficult day for him.
"Happy birthday my beautiful Jetty. I love you," Travolta wrote alongside a black and white photo of himself and Jett on Tuesday. The picture showed their faces smiling in a candid close-up, with Jett looking at the camera and Travolta looking at Jett. They were set against an indiscernible backdrop, both wearing dark clothes. The post picked up over 359,000 likes on Tuesday and many consoling comments from fans.
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"Beautiful pic. Thoughts and love from across the waves," one fan wrote. Another added: "Jet has his mama with him now. G-d bless them both. Both taken too young especially young Jet," while a third commented: "I opened my Instagram while watching 'Michael.' This was the first post. Makes me wonder... was Jetty an angel."
Travolta and Preston married in 1991 and had Jett the following year. They had two more children in the years that followed — Ella Bleu in 2000 and Benjamin in 2010. Jett passed away in the Bahamas, where the family was vacationing in January of 2009. His death was the source of a lot of controversy and speculation at the time.
According to a report by ABC News, Travolta only publicly revealed that Jett was autistic after his death. He also suffered from Kawasaki disease, which caused him to have seizures from time to time. Jett was in the throes of one of those seizures when he passed away.
Afterward, Travolta lashed out at two first responders, accusing them of extortion in the wake of his son's death. He claimed that the paramedics on the scene blackmailed him with private family information after caring for Jett, demanding $25 million. However, Travolta later dropped these charges, saying that his family and the Church of Scientology helped him process Jett's death.
Ironically, one of those paramedics gave ABC News a touching description of Travolta's last moments with Jett. He said: "I'll never forget this day. I saw him lean over and hug his son and kiss his son and tell him he loved him and I did everything I could. I saw love in his eyes, I saw love. [Travolta] hugged him, put his arm around him, kissed him on the forehead and the cheek and told him he loved him. He then turned to me and gave me a hug and said, 'You guys did a wonderful job.'"