Sad news comes from actress Angelina Jolie and her family. Just a few weeks after revealing her brave decision to undergo a preventive double mastectomy, the mother of six lost her aunt Debbie Martin to breast cancer. Debbie died at Palomar Hospital in Escondido, Calif. Sunday, May 26 at about 1:50 A.M. She was 61.
According to Debbie's husband Ron Martin, the "Salt" actress, her father Jon Voight and her brother James Haven spent time with the ailing Debbie in her final days. "Angelina has been in touch throughout the week and her brother Jamie has been with us, giving his support day by day," Ron told E! News. "They both loved Debbie very much and although Angie is not able to come right now she has sent her love and support which was very nice."
"We have seen Angelina a number of times since Debbie was diagnosed with breast cancer," Ron continued, "And Debbie and I were both very proud of her recent decision to have the double mastectomy and to do everything she can to keep her family from having to go through what we've been through."
"Angelina's father Jon Voight has also been tremendously supportive - he came down to see Debbie last Sunday and spent the whole day, talking with her and sharing his love and I know Debbie really enjoyed seeing him and talking with him."
Debbie was the younger sister of Angelina's mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand, who died of ovarian cancer in 2007 at the age of 56. Marcheline also battled breast cancer. Moreover, Angelina's maternal grandmother, Lois, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer as well. She lost her courageous battle against the illness at 45.
Besides her husband, Debbie is survived by two sons Chris and Cory Martin.
Angelina Jolie revealed in a moving article titled "My medical Choice" on New York Times about her double mastectomy. She decided to go under the knife after finding out that she carried a "faulty" gene that sharply increased her risk of breast cancer up to 87% and ovarian cancer up to 50%.
"The decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. ... I can tell my children that they don't need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer," she said. "And they know that I love them and will do anything to be with them as long as I can."
"On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity," she added, explaining that she decided to go public with her story "because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer." She said, "It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options."