Just two weeks after Angelina Jolie revealed she had a preventative double mastectomy to lower her risk of breast cancer, the actress’ aunt has passed away after battling the disease.
Jolie’s uncle, Ron Martin, confirmed to E! News that his wife, Debbie Martin, died Sunday, May 26. “Angelina has been in touch throughout the week and her brother Jamie has been with us, giving his support day by day,” he said.
Debbie was the younger sister of Marcheline Bertrand, Jolie’s late mother. Bertrand died in 2007 at the age of 56 after a long battle with ovarian cancer.
Earlier this month, Jolie, 37, revealed she recently had a preventative double mastectomy after learning she carries the BRCA1 breast cancer gene. Brad Pitt’s fiancee and mother of six decided to undergo the surgery to minimize her risk. “I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer,” she said in her essay for the New York Times.
Jolie’s uncle fully supports her decision.
“We have seen Angelina a number of times since Debbie was diagnosed with breast cancer and Debbie and I were both very proud of her recent decision to have the double mastectomy,” he told E! News, “and to do everything she can to keep her family from having to go through what we’ve been through.” (Us Weekly)