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Idol Chatter

The Death of Jett Travolta: What the Media Isn’t Asking

jetttravoltapic.jpgThe first tragic celebrity news of 2009 came way too early as reports quickly appeared on Friday that Jett Travolta, son of actor John Travolta and actress Kelly Preston, died in The Bahamas over the New Year’s holiday. Jett was only sixteen and I, for one, knew little about him–a testament to the way his celebrity parents wisely protected him from the limelight. My heart goes out to the Travolta family for their devastating loss. But now there are some pretty big gaps in the details surrounding Jett’s death. Although the Travoltas have every right to remain private during this trying time, they could do a great service by coming out and explaining Jett’s condition and the treatment they decided to use, since some will inevitably start speculating if Scientology is connected in some way to this tragedy.
I am extremely surprised at how delicately the media are tip-toeing around the very idea. But considering the fact that a seizure allegedly had something to do with Jett’s death and that he allegedly also had a history of seizures, it is not too much of leap to begin wondering if Scientology’s aversion to psychiatric drugs might be linked in some way to his medical issues, if in fact, Jett did have a mental condition and not just a physical one.


The Travolta family has only publicly acknowledged one serious medical condition in Jett’s past–Kawaski Disease, a rare disease that primarily affects toddlers. But this wouldn’t explain why a 16-year-old needed a caretaker or a nanny, as has been reported, or why it took so long to find him collapsed in the bathroom. All of this is in addition to rumors of untreated autism, which Scientology does not recognize as a disease.
I can only imagine that to have accusations hurled at your parenting skills when you are in the midst of mourning great loss is the last thing this family wants or needs. But at the same time, divulging information that could squash these rumors might give this family peace from endless future speculation.
If you’d like to post your own prayers for the Travolta family, you can visit our prayer circle here.
John Travolta at

  • xvla

    My condolences to the Travolta family – I don’t wish this kind of tragedy on anyone. But, so much for Scientology “Operating Thetans” having full control over Matter, Energy, Space and Time (Travolta supposedly is one after spending hundreds of thousands of dollarson scientology “training”). If Travolta had the much vaunted powers that one acquires in the upper levels of the Church of Scientology’s “training” this never should have happened. Perhaps this will make it a little more clear to everyone that at its heart, Scientology is nothing but a money making scam.
    For more info about the scam that is $cientology, see

  • BrendaLR

    I’m a Scientologist. I know the truth because I’ve read the books and done the courses people speculate about. Scientology is about learning how to live life better. Most Scientologists spend a great deal of their free time helping other people. We are not monsters or ogres. There is nothing anywhere that says a person should not seek medical treatment or not take medical drugs. We are not space alien-loving freaks. We are people. For some reason, there are those who hate us with a passion and I am astonished at that. But even more astonishing is how these wonderful people are having mud slung at them when they have just experienced the most devastating loss they will likely ever experience. John has helped countless people. So has Kelly. Can’t you guys see this as the hatred that it is? This is hatred. I thought we weren’t supposed to do that anymore.

  • Lydia

    Brendra, before slinging accusations of hatred at others, why not take a look at the hatred your own organization throws around at those in the psychiatric profression and what effect that has taken on the mentally ill? I see people exressing valid concern about this then being vicously attacked by scientologists for daring to express their concerns all the time! Since when is expressing concern considered hatred, Brenda?
    Also, you SEEM to briefly address the issue about your organization’s stance on the current issue, but are very careful to specify “medical” treatment and “medical” drugs. Scientologists sure do seem to use this kind of “word trickery” quite a bit.
    The issue is whether your organization recongnizes autism as a valid illness and whether medications used for siesures are discouraged due to the fact that they are used to treat psychiatric illnesses.

  • Janey

    Thanks for this article. Scientologists believe that any kind of health problem is actually the patient’s fault. They claim that a bizarre interrogation (called “auditing”) on a primitive lie detector called an e-meter, combined with huge doses of Niacin, are the appropriate way to treat illness, especially in the case of neurological or psychiatric conditions. It has been widely observed that Jett seemed to be autistic. About a third of autistic children develop epilepsy, a seizure disorder. A tape was released today of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard discussing epilepsy ( In this tape, which lasts about a minute and a half, Hubbard jokes about the need to take an epileptic person off her medications, so that she can be “treated” with Scientology “auditing.” One hopes that Jett did not have to endure such a “treatment” regimen, but he probably did. As for the story about Depakote: This is only one of many, many highly effective medications for treating seizure disorders. It’s not even considered a “first line” medication for seizure disorders. Did they really just throw up their hands and stop all seizure medications when the Depakote no longer seemed to work? Why not try some of the other medications?

  • Lesley

    He died from a seizure and he had been on anti-seizure medication.
    Also, there is a statement of the Church of Scientology now:
    It’s that simple.
    What Scientology is and does? Well, is a good start to find out.

  • Your Name

    OMG already…To each his own…live and let live…

  • Chris

    “Can’t you guys see this as the hatred that it is? This is hatred. I thought we weren’t supposed to do that anymore.”
    Asking critical questions is being hateful? Look we know there are good people in Scientology. That’s exactly the point. There are good people in that cult and they’re getting hurt. It’s time to put a stop to this madness already. Give people their money and their lives back Scientology, it’s just sick what you’re doing to them.

  • Neutral

    See link for a more balanced perspective and some debunking of the more common myths repeated by the uninformed commenters here.
    As a former Scientologist, I find the degree to which Scientology is consistently defamed and mischaracterized absolutely disturbing.

  • Tonya

    Why is it hateful to ask question on a child’s death? After all a child sometimes does not have a choice to choose it’s own religion, they choose the one in which the parents decides for them no matter how twisted it may be. Many people don’t believe that parents don’t kill their children, and they live in a fantsy land, then in many religions they make sacrifices to Idol Gods, and they punish certian people when they don’t do as they are told, by harming there families, and they are force to not say a word. Some Cults are so powerful they use people of influences and manipulate the press to say what they want them to say and cover up the truth, it happens every day, then they play on the people’s simpothy, and it is in our sympothy and ignorace that we don’t ask questions that we should ask, and people get away with murder.

  • Timothy Nutmet

    The Church’s response baffles me. It’s pretty clear that Jett’s death, whether he suffered from Kawasaki Syndrome or not, was not a consequence of the aforementioned disorder, but rather was a consequence of epilepsy or autism-related seizures. Every doctor interviewed in every news article about this has agreed – as does the autopsy.
    And every doctor agrees that the medical treatment given – a ‘couple years’ on a single anti-convulsive, and an undisclosed number of sessions of the pseudoscientific ‘purification rundown’ – was not sufficient for treating chronic seizures. People who suffer frequent seizures have all stepped up to say ‘That seems like a really half-hearted and irresponsible way to treat a very serious disorder.’
    Scientology wants you to think the question is simply ‘Was Jett treated?’ If yes, no harm no foul. But the fact is, Jett was NOT treated /properly/, he was not treated according to /sound medical practice/. And either that failure was due to Scientology’s stance on medicine or it was not. Neither confirmation nor refutation of the idea that Scientology’s teachings are responsible will change the fact that the child was NOT cared for properly.

  • Your Name

    They lost their firstborn – – – leave them alone already, please. What difference does it make if the religous teachings had anything to do with their son’s treatment???? It’s THEIR chosen religion!!!

  • Your Name

    People need to leave this family alone to grieve. WHO CARES what the child had and what medical treatment HIS PARENTS chose to administer to him. The ONLY thing that should matter at the moment is that a life was lost way too early and a family is hurting to make sense of it.
    Scientologist do not believe in psychiatric drugs (mood alternating drugs) but they do believe in drugs for medicinal purposes. As Lisa Marie Presley put it …Just like anyone else, if one is sick, they go to the doctor. If a medication will make it better, then they take it. If they don’t, then they are an idiot, and you can’t blame their religion…

  • Janice

    We all have our own beliefs. To start throwing around accusations that they did not treat a medical condition is absurd. I have an ADHD child and he is not medicated. Why? Because the meds all have side affects. Some of those side affects are death. We all have the right to choose and the Travolta’s have made their choice. Leave them alone to grieve their loss. They love very deeply. Anybody who has seen John Travolta on talk shows know what a kind loving person he is. I would love to have people like that in my life. Certainly not the all these critics who are no different than any of us except they cast stones.

  • Diane

    We. send our deepest sympathy to the Travolta Family, as a parent I can not Imagine what they are going through, The family deserve time alone at this time and do not need negative attitudes towards what this family believes in or not as far as spiritual life, we all have that right as being part of Americans and living in a free nation, my suggestion to the media, and to the public, have some true compassion for this family, set aside your opinions. if they can not be positive please do not post, everyone has the right in United States to believe in what ever they want f, right now I pray for there family has peace and can some how ignore people and the media who un-fairly judge them. I may not know about scientology, so therefore I can not judge, I do not have the right, instead people should send positive condolences at this time, it is a time for the family to mourn in peace for there loving son, this tragedy could be a lesson for all—We have no right to judge this family and especially there moral ideas for there own family
    our blessings to the Travolta family
    Bohn family

  • Your Name

    To the Travolta Family,
    Hello My Name is Danette and I Live in Ohio.I am So Sorry to Here about Your Son Passing away.I can Realate with you.My Heart Goes out to your family.I loss my Mom to Cancer in 2005 and I Still Have’nt Gotten over it Yet.
    God Be with you.

  • Pam F.

    My heartfelt condolences to the Travolta family. The hardest experience in a parents life is losing a child. God bless parents with children, but “HE” is the only one whose knows just how long we live on this earth. The media needs to leave this family along and let them grieve for their son. God Bless you…

  • moon

    Granted they are celebrities and to have to live under a microscope is the life they’ve chosen. But in terms of what they care to disclose to anyone is really their business — and theirs alone. For anyone to think they have a “right” to know, they are sadly mistaken and misguided. And it’s the media that causes this unrealistic expectation. Please allow this family to grieve in their own way. Should they ever decide to disclose any information should be their decision alone without any pushing and prodding from anyone who doesn’t matter.

  • Denise DiFalco

    I can’t think of a more loving, stable and admirable family than The
    Travoltas. They should be commended for their fine example of discipline and charity rather than the negative press that so often rears its
    ugly head at the very worst of times. My heart and prayers truly go out to them and I hope that they find the strength and courage to continue on for Ella. I am certain that beautiful Jett would want this from them. Here we have one of the rare, devoted families not only in
    tinsel town but all around the world today. I, even find myself questioning God why but have to remind myself that we not only live here
    day to day but we have that Hope of a perfect afterlife where we will be
    with our loved ones that have passed on once again. I would beg of the press to unite with compassion and support during their hour of need. They are a fine example of unity which we all can learn much from!

  • Antoinette Lubatti

    God bless and comfort the Travolta family at this time. As a Catholic, I believe that the soul lives on and that we do meet again in heaven. I prey that John Travolta and his family will find comfort in knowing that Jett is alive and well on the other side and that and that they will be re-united with him one day. I prey that their suffering is eased by our father and in knowing that all the love and joy that they shared with their son is a blessing and will remain eternal. I am keeping you and Jett in my prayers. God bless and love you and your beautiful family! Amen.

  • Your Name

    losing a child is the most spiritually traumatic point in a life, it makes people really question their faith and people tend to try and reach out. Whether it’s Jesus or Buddha, Mohammad or any place or people that they have chosen for their spiritual leadership, the anguish is still the same. Unfortunately, half of Scientology was written long after L. Ron Hubbard’s death. They were “finding” new “transcripts” almost every couple of years. I had alot of respect for Mr. Hubbard as a science fiction writer, but as a source of comfort, I think that their source of comfort comes from how much gets donated. Right now money or the “spotlight” is not the issue. The issue is that today a child is gone, more hopes for a speedy recovery for this family in pain. Time does heal everything no matter what religion is practiced

  • Paul

    I wrote the comment above.

  • L. Johnson

    I agree pretty much with a lot of you. Although they are in the “limelight”, their private lives should be theirs. Let them mourn the death of their son in their own way. I, personally would not want everyone knowing about everything in my life!!!

  • Suzi Schwartzenberger

    The Travolta family is in our thoughts and prayers. When God takes you to it, He will take you through it.
    Living is hard
    Loving is harder
    Losing is hardest

  • Carol

    My heart goes out to the Travolta’s. May God comfort them as only he can.

  • http://Seizures Susan P.

    I am a yong adult and have developed seizures two years ago, with no known reason, but in taking Dilantin and having blood tests every 6 months, I am seizure free. I do not understand, how they could not try another medicine to work for him. Especially if he is having grand mal seizures every few days. Autism is linked to eplipesy, and it is sad he could not be helped. I truly feel bad for the family, and do pray for them to have strength.
    A question aboput the religion, Do they really believe your spirtit just on to another body, What about heaven? Would you never get there? And if the religion founded in 1945? what about the people before
    that year?

  • http://condolences BARBARA PEREZ


  • Jason

    Epilepsy isn’t a mental illness in that it doesn’t involve chemicals in the brain in the same way that depression, or schizophrenia, or bi-polar disorder involve chemicals in the brain. Brain chemistry is at the center of epilepsy, but the illness is a physical one, not a mental one — which is to say, it concerns physical well-being as opposed to emotional well-being.

  • Your Name

    Shame shame shame to us all. Jett Travolta was a boy, a son to both Mister Travolta and Mrs Preston. There is nothing wroth then losing a child on this earth. Do you know they give you a lable, if lose a parent or spouse, but if lose a child you are not labe anything at all! I am Christian and i believe in only in one life to live, but six teen was barley blink of eye. I hope Jeff is with God and he is with his love ones that already past away. I hope so that God gives the Travolta the strenth to go on and realized life goes on. Go in God love Jett Travolta and be at peace with him amen.

  • luke delumberman

    Travolta’s own home in Islesboro Maine where I live and fly for a hobby. I saw Jett many times on the island over a decade or so and I never, ever heard him speak a coherent word or sentence. If you said hello to him he would at best start laughing with no eye contact. most of the time he would yelp or make cat-like sounds. A yard man who worked on the property said a male nurse (ie:nanny) was always with him and that tutors were flown in for home schooling. I believe he had severe Tourette’s syndrome, because he seemed oblivious most of the time. He also inhaled his food and heard on more than one occasion the food got stuck and almost choked him to death. A sad situation for the boy.

  • Your Name

    All I know is that as a human being to be able to see Jett and his sister with his parents,not as famous or rich, but just as parents that love unconditionaly as they have is what matters most. As a mother and grandmother my LOVE an RESPECT goes out to John and his family.

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