Island residents protective of Travoltas

Posted Jan. 05, 2009, at 6:53 p.m.

ISLESBORO, Maine — Residents here were reluctant to comment Monday on the death of John Travolta’s 16-year-old son, Jett.

Jett Travolta died Friday in the Bahamas from a seizure. The family has a home on Islesboro.

Islesboro residents contacted Monday spoke guardedly of their deep concern for the family’s loss and the Travoltas’ devotion to their children, but otherwise declined to offer their views.

“I don’t really want to comment,” said Island Market owner Dave “Shake” Mahan. “I know they loved their children dearly. Other than that, I don’t have anything to say.”

Similar comments and reactions were given by other residents who refused to speak on the record.

Celebrities and other wealthy summer residents come to Islesboro because of the island’s isolated nature. Many year-round islanders are protective of their summer visitors’ privacy. Many work for the wealthy and some employers require that they sign confidentiality agreements as a condition of their employment.

The Travoltas were described as private people who kept to themselves.

A check at the town office revealed there is no official record that John Travolta even owns property on the island.

According to news reports, Jett Travolta was found by a caretaker. He had been sick and having seizures for some years. His parents, John Travolta, 54, and Kelly Preston, 46, said he was diagnosed at age 2 with Kawasaki syndrome, an illness that leads to inflamed blood vessels in young children.

The family apparently had spent the Christmas holiday on Islesboro and left for the Bahamas last week for a new year vacation at their home on Grand Bahama, according to Police Superintendent Basil Rahming.

Results of an autopsy Monday on Jett Travolta’s body were not released by authorities, but The Associated Press reported that a Bahamian funeral director said the body showed no sign of head trauma and his death certificate says he was killed by a “seizure.”

Glen Campbell, assistant director of the Bahamian funeral home handling the remains, said he saw the body and the death certificate, which was based on the autopsy’s findings.

The Travolta family issued the following statement late Sunday, according to the Huffington Post Web site:

“We would like to extend our deepest and most heartfelt thanks to everyone who has sent their love and condolences,” they said. “Jett was the most wonderful son that two parents could ever ask for and lit up the lives of everyone he encountered. We are heartbroken that our time with him was so brief. We will cherish the time we had with him for the rest of our lives. We have received many messages of condolence from around the world and we want to thank everyone for their prayers and support. It has meant so much to us. It is a beautiful reminder of the inherent goodness in the human spirit that gives us hope for a brighter future.”

Jett Travolta was named for his father’s love of flying. He has a younger sister, Ella Bleu, 8. His mother, Kelly Preston, once said that Jett also suffered from asthma and she blamed household cleaners, fertilizers and pesticides for his condition.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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