Saturday, January 10, 2009
Travolta plans private memorial for son in Florida
John Travolta and his family were expected to host a private memorial service Thursday for their son, 16-year-old Jett Travolta, at their home in a central Florida gated community.
The actor and his wife, Kelly Preston, live in a sprawling $8 million home in a luxury subdivision with its own airstrip near this small town. Jett died at the family vacation home in Grand Bahama last week.
More than a dozen reporters and photographers gathered outside the Jumbolair Aviation Estates subdivision hours before the afternoon event.
A steady stream of catering trucks and florists entered the complex Thursday. A handful of locals also stopped by out of curiosity or carried bouquets of flowers and handed them to guards at the subdivision's main gate.
"I wanted to help John celebrate his son's life and not necessarily his death," said 52-year-old Sherie Maud of Ocala, who brought a dozen red roses.
A sign outside the Saddle Rock cafe in town, where Travolta often stops for a western omelet, read: "Condolences to John and Kelly."
The service for Jett is expected to adhere to the tenets of the actor's faith, Scientology, and will celebrate the teen's life.
It was unclear whether any celebrities would fly in for the funeral. Travolta, an avid pilot, bought the house because of the community airstrip and visitors can fly in and out without being seen by paparazzi, who have staked out the area for days.
The Travoltas have spoken publicly only once since their son's passing. "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," Travolta and Preston said in a statement Sunday.
Jett Travolta had a history of seizures and was found unconscious Friday in a bathroom.
Doctors in the Bahamas performed an autopsy Monday but did not release results. A Bahamas undertaker said the teen's death certificate listed "seizure" as the cause of death. The body was cremated Monday and flown to the US the same night.
Tommy Davis, a spokesman for the Church of Scientology International in Los Angeles, said on CBS' "Early Show" on Thursday that he's spoken to the family and "they're doing great."
"This is a time for them and their family and their friends, and like anyone we would wish them well and hope they can be brave," Davis said. - AP