The news of Kelly Preston’s death on Sunday was shocking to many, as her two year battle with breast cancer was not publicly known. While fans are trying to cope with the passing of John Travolta’s wife, Preston’s family is struggling to cope with the news. The younger half-brother of 57-year-old Preston, Chris Palzis, told The Daily Mail that the family is “gutted” over the news of her passing.
“We’re still really grieving so I don’t have anything eloquent to say right now,” Palzis told the outlet. “We’re just all very gutted over this, if I had to say something that would pretty much summarize it. She was a light and she was a warrior and she’ll always be remembered for how she brought out the best in people.” Palzis said he had just returned to California, where he is a Los Angeles-based realtor, from Florida where the family situation is “heartbreaking.”
A spokesperson for the family announced Preston’s death, saying that she had been undergoing medical treatment for “some time” and was supported by her family and friends throughout her battle with cancer.
A family representative also talked to PEOPLE about Preston, and called her “a bright, beautiful and loving soul.” They went on to say that the family is requesting privacy during this difficult time.
Travolta also announced the news of Preston’s death in a touching Instagram tribute.
“It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that my beautiful wife Kelly has lost her two-year battle with breast cancer,” he wrote alongside a photo of Preston. “She fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many.”
Travolta and Preston shared three children together — 20-year-old Ella, nine-year-old Benjamin, and Jett, who died at age 16 in 2009.
Ella also penned some thoughts about her mother following her death.
“Thank you for being there for me no matter what. Thank you for your love,” Ella wrote. “Thank you for your help and thank you for making this world a better place. You have made life so beautiful and I know you will continue to do so always. I love you so much mama.”
Preston first rose to fame as an actress in the mid-80s and was best known for her roles in many films, including the movies Twins, Jerry McGuire, For Love of the Game, and more recently played the role of Travolta’s wife in the biopic Gotti.