An aunt of Angelina Jolie who carried a same gene mutation linked to breast cancer as the actress has died of the disease at an Escondido hospital, according to an interview with her husband.
Debbie Martin, 61, passed away early Sunday, only a few weeks after Jolie announced that she had undergone surgery to remove both of her healthy breasts as a preventive measure because she carried the defective BRCA1 gene.
Jolie wrote about her decision in a May 14 op-ed in the New York Times.
Debbie Martin carried the same BRCA1 gene, her husband, Ron Martin, said in an interview with 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.”
Debbie Martin had previously had her ovaries removed preventively because she was at high risk for that cancer, according to an interview Ron Martin gave to the Associated Press.
Debbie Martin is the younger sister of Jolie’s mother, Marcheline Bertrand, who died of ovarian cancer at age 56 in 2007.