Angelina Jolie's Aunt Dies After Battle With Breast Cancer
May 27th, 2013 10:45am EDT
Two weeks after Angelina Jolie revealed that she underwent a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of breast cancer her aunt has died from the disease after two battles with it.
Debbie Martin, the sister of Jolie's late mother Marcheline Bertrand, died on Sunday at Palomar Hospital in Escondido, Calif., just days after being hospitalized, according to her husband Ronald Martin. She was 61.
Last week it was revealed that she developed the disease for the second time after undergoing a lumpectomy in 2004 when she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. The cancer returned last year.
Jolie was unable to be with her aunt at the time of her death, but her uncle said she's been in touch often, according to E! News.
"Angelina has been in touch throughout the week and her brother Jamie has been with us, giving his support day by day," Martin said. "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 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."
Jolie's mother died of ovarian cancer in 2007 at the age of 56. The actress is planning to undergo surgery to have her ovaries removed also, as the "faulty" BRCA1 gene she carries not only put her at risk of developing breast cancer -- which she greatly reduced her risk of getting by having the mastectomy -- but it also increases her risk of developing the same disease that took her mother.
"Because of the BRCA gene in the maternal side of the family, Angelina did the smartest thing on earth," Martin told the National Enquirer last week. "It takes a lot of courage to have your breasts removed."
Jolie underwent the double mastectomy and had reconstructive surgery in February.
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