John Travolta, who married Preston in September 1991, announced the news of the actress’ death “with a very heavy heart” via Instagram in the early hours of Monday, July 13.
“She fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many,” the Grease star, 66, told his 2.8 million Instagram followers. “My family and I will forever be grateful to her doctors and nurses at MD Anderson Cancer Center, all the medical centers that have helped, as well as her many friends and loved ones who have been by her side.”
He added, “Kelly’s love and life will always be remembered. I will be taking some time to be there for my children who have lost their mother, so forgive me in advance if you don’t hear from us for a while. But please know that I will feel your outpouring of love in the weeks and months ahead as we heal.”
The couple’s daughter, Ella, also honored her late mother via Instagram on Monday, writing, “I have never met anyone as courageous, strong, beautiful and loving as you. Anyone who is lucky enough to have known you or to have ever been in your presence will agree that you have a glow and a light that never ceases to shine and that makes anyone around you feel instantly happy.”
The 20-year-old continued, “Thank you for being there for me no matter what. Thank you for your love. 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.”
In addition to Ella, Travolta and Preston shared 9-year-old son Benjamin. Their eldest son, Jett, died at age 16 in January 2009 after suffering a seizure during a family vacation to the Bahamas.
In January 2019, the Saturday Night Fever star opened up to Us Weekly exclusively about his life at home with Preston and their kids.
“Our children keep our interest in life very high,” he said at the time. “Their future is very important to us.”