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Actors' son Jett Travolta dies at 16

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  • NEW: Relationship between Travolta and son Jett called loving, affectionate
  • NEW: Couple said chemicals in cleaning products triggered son's rare disease
  • Jett Travolta was elder child of John Travolta and Kelly Preston
  • Jett Travolta died in Freeport, Bahamas, where family was well-liked by community
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(CNN) -- The 16-year-old son of actors John Travolta and Kelly Preston died Friday morning after suffering a seizure while vacationing with his family in the Bahamas, Travolta's attorney told CNN.

John Travolta and Kelly Preston were vacationing in the Bahamas with their children when son Jett died.

Jett Travolta, right, joined his father weeks ago in Paris, where John Travolta has been filming a movie.

"At this point, we know that John Travolta and Kelly Preston's only son, Jett, had a seizure at around 10 a.m. this morning," attorney Michael Ossi said. "All attempts to revive him were unsuccessful."

The boy hit his head after the seizure, but the exact cause of death is not known, Ossi said. An autopsy will be conducted Monday. His body will be transferred to Ocala, Florida, for burial, he said.

Jett's death "was completely out of the blue," he said. "John and Kelly are happy when their children are happy. This is the worst day of John's life." Video Watch John Travolta and son Jett in Paris »

The Travoltas also have a daughter, Ella, 8.

Bahamian police said a caretaker at the West End resort where the Travoltas were vacationing found the teenager unconscious in the bathroom. Jett Travolta was taken by ambulance to Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport and was pronounced dead on arrival, police said. Can you relate to the loss of a child? Share your story

Jett's death was mourned by the staff and residents of West End, where the Travoltas were beloved members of the community, Obie Wilchcomb, former minister of tourism for the Bahamas, told CNN's Larry King.

"We in West End had admired Mr. Travolta and his wife, Kelly," Wilchcomb said. "The people of the community of West End, particularly those who work at Old Bahama Bay, certainly today were in such shock, and they felt the tragedy because they had become a part of the community."

Wilchcomb said the Travoltas' love and affection for their son was apparent to those in the community. Photo See photos of Jett with his family »

"Mr. Travolta spent a tremendous amount of time with his son, Jett. He never left him at home. He always brought him with him. And once you saw John Travolta, you saw his son, Jett. They were very close, very affectionate. Lots of love, you see at all times," Wilchcomb said.

The family was on the island this weekend for a gathering of 60 family and friends who were arriving throughout the day as the tragedy unfolded, Wilchcomb said.

In 1994, Travolta told People magazine that he loved fatherhood.

"I can't imagine what life would be like without Jett," he said. "After he was born and cleaned up, I held him for hours while Kelly slept. When they came to take him away for various tests, I said, 'No, you can't see him today. You'll have to do it another day.' I went a little nutsy."

Jett Travolta had a developmental disability that his parents, John Travolta and Kelly Preston, have linked to Kawasaki disease, an inflammatory disorder of the artery walls that most commonly occurs in young children and can lead to heart disease. Video Watch CNN's Sunjay Gupta discuss Kawasaki disease »

In 2001, John Travolta told CNN's Larry King that his son had a near brush with death related to the condition.

"I was obsessive about cleaning -- his space being clean, so we constantly had the carpets cleaned. And I think, between him, the fumes and walking around, maybe picking up pieces or something, he got what is rarely a thing to deal with, but it's Kawasaki syndrome," Travolta said of his then-2-year-old son. Video Watch Travolta talk about his son's condition »

"It was that the immune system overreacts, because they have almost the equivalent of metallic chemical," Travolta said.

In 2003, Kelly Preston told Montel Williams that when Jett was 2, he became ill with flu symptoms, including fever, rashes and swollen lymph nodes, before a doctor diagnosed him with Kawasaki disease.

Echoing her husband's comments, Preston blamed chemicals in household cleaners and pesticides for attacking her son's immune system, triggering the condition.

A dedicated Scientologist, Preston told Williams that she credited a detoxification program from the writings of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard with helping improve her son's health.

Kawasaki disease is characterized by fevers and inflammation in the blood vessels that can be caused by a number of inciting factors, including virus, bacteria or infection, CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta said on "Larry King Live."

"You get pretty sick for a few days. In the worst-case scenario, sometimes it can affect the blood vessels of the heart, called the coronary arteries," Gupta said. "Sometimes they can develop aneurysms in it. That's probably the most dangerous thing. But again, this is typically a disease associated with young children. It's typically in Japan, and it's pretty rare."

Gupta said it was rare for teens to display symptoms of the disease, which usually occurs in young children.

"Most of the patients are usually between 2 and 5 years old. Sometimes they get up to age 8. But it's very rare in fact for someone to be in their teens and still have symptoms of Kawasaki. They may have had it earlier in life, but to still have any manifestations of it is unusual," he said.

The causes of Kawasaki disease are unknown. Some scientists think it's caused by an infectious agent, such as a virus. Some studies have noted a link between the disease and carpet cleaning chemicals.

John Travolta gained fame in the 1970s, starring in the television series "Welcome Back, Kotter" and the movies "Saturday Night Fever" and "Grease." His career got a boost in 1994 with his second Best Actor Oscar nomination, for his role as a hit man in "Pulp Fiction."


He also wrote and illustrated a 42-page novel for his son called "Propeller One-Way Night Coach," a "fable for the ages" about a young boy whose first trip on an airplane changes his life forever, according to It was a nod to Travolta's experience as a licensed pilot.

Preston has numerous TV and movie credits, including a supporting role in 1996's "Jerry Maguire."

CNN's Valerie Streit contributed to this report.

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