Bahamas Handling Travolta Autopsy

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FREEPORT, Bahamas – The Bahamas will use two pathologists to ensure a careful autopsy on John Travolta’s son, who died at the actor’s vacation home in Grand Bahama, the territory’s health minister said Saturday.

Dr. Hubert Minnis told The Associated Press that he decided to use a second specialist to guarantee a thorough assessment of what might have caused Jett Travolta’s death.

The 16-year-old was found collapsed in a bathroom on Friday after having a seizure and hitting his head on the bathtub, said a police officer who declined to be named because she was not authorized to speak on the matter.

He was taken by ambulance to a Freeport hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police Superintendent Basil Rahming said in a statement.

A U.S.-certified clinical and forensic pathologist from Nassau will fly into Grand Bahama on Monday to help perform the autopsy, Minnis said. A possible cause of death likely will be known by the end of the day, he said.

The Bahamas is a haven for celebrities and Minnis himself was an obstetrician for Anna Nicole Smith, the former Playboy playmate who died from an accidental drug overdose and is buried in the Bahamas alongside her son.

John Travolta is trying to finish funeral arrangements and hopes to fly his son’s body to Florida by midweek, said Michael McDermott, the actor’s corporate and commercial attorney.

Travolta, 54, and his wife, actress Kelly Preston, 46, have a house in Ocala, Florida.

“It’s heart-wrenching,” McDermott said. “If you knew how much he loved that boy … It was almost palpable. It was that strong.”

Security was tight Saturday at the lavish Old Bahama Bay resort community, where Travolta owns a home.

“We are taking great steps to protect Travolta’s privacy,” resort spokesman Ryan Julison said. “Security is heightened because media is attempting to access the property.”

The family arrived on a private plane Tuesday and apparently had invited 60 friends for the New Year’s holiday weekend, including McDermott. It is unclear whether Travolta, a pilot, had flown his family in.

Jett was the couple’s oldest child. They also have an 8-year-old daughter, Ella Bleu.

Preston and Travolta have said that Jett became very sick when he was 2 years old and was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease, an illness that leads to inflamed blood vessels in young children. Preston blamed household cleaners and fertilizers, and said that a detoxification program based on teachings from the Church of Scientology helped improve his health, according to People magazine.

“I was obsessive about his space being cleaned. We constantly had the carpets cleaned,” Travolta said in a 2001 interview with CNN’s Larry King, a portion of which was rebroadcast on the “Larry King Live” show Friday night. During that interview, Travolta spoke of how his son nearly died when he was 2.

It is unclear whether Jett was taking any medications for his seizures.

Travolta gained fame as Vinnie Barbarino on the 1970s television show “Welcome Back, Kotter” and the 1977 film “Saturday Night Fever” and went on to become one of Hollywood‘s biggest names. He married Preston in 1991.

Preston appeared with Travolta in the 2000 film “Battlefield Earth,” based on a novel by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. She also has featured in numerous television series and in films such as “Jerry Maguire,” “What a Girl Wants,” “For Love of the Game,” “Eulogy” and, as the voice of the mother, in “Cat in the Hat.”

McDermott said that following the death, “Kelly’s kind of withdrawn to herself. She’s dealing with it in her own way.”

Jeremy Thayer, developer of the Ocala subdivision where Travolta owns a home, told the Ocala Star-Banner that Jett was a friendly teen who loved the outdoors and was often seen riding his bike or a golf cart.

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