Travolta family thanks its Ocala neighbors


Published: Monday, January 12, 2009 at 5:31 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 12, 2009 at 5:31 p.m.

OCALA, Fla. -- John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston thanked the people of Ocala in central Florida for treating them as family in the aftermath of their son's death in the Bahamas and advised them to treat their loved ones and friends "like there was no tomorrow" in a letter released Monday.

Jett Travolta, 16, died at the family vacation home in Grand Bahama in earlier this month. The couple lives in a sprawling $8 million home in a luxury subdivision with its own airstrip called Jumbolair Aviation Estates in Ocala. They held a memorial service for him on Thursday. He had a history of seizures and was found unconscious in a bathroom. A Bahamas undertaker said the teen's death certificate had "seizure" as the cause of death.

The letter's salutation was to the people of Ocala and it was sent by e-mail from Travolta's attorney Michael McDermott.

"What we have experienced in Ocala transcends neighborly civility. We have been treated as family. Although we lost a good part of the joy and radiance of our family, your embracing us as a member of your own has helped us to contend with our loss," the letter said.

The letter, which ends "Love John, Kelly and Ella" their daughter said that every person they have encountered has offered help.

"From the people who drove hours to drop off cards and flowers at our doorstep, to the service providers who made Jett's ceremony so beautiful, thank you," the letter said. "Every person who we have encountered has offered to do anything in their power to help us, but add that they feel powerless to do so. We want all of you to know that you have already helped us. By sharing our grief, you lessen our burden. For all of the people who have kept Jett in their prayers, know that those prayers have given us inspiration and strength."

It also imparted some words of advice.

"In parting, we want all of you to cherish your loved ones and your friends like there was no tomorrow, to live your lives to the fullest by continuing to help one another, and to be true to yourselves," it said.

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