Just weeks after opening up about her own preventative double mastectomy, Angelina Jolie has lost a family member to breast cancer.
Angelina’s aunt, Debbie Martin, succumbed to the disease on Sunday at the age of 61, People reports.
Debbie, who was Angelina’s mother’s sister, was not with the actress at the time of her death, although Debbie’s husband reported that the two had remained close after Angelina’s mother passed away in 2007.
"Angelina has been sending her wishes," said Debbie’s husband, Ronald Martin. "She and my wife texted each other. It was difficult for my wife, during the last few months, to communicate."
Angelina, who is preparing to undergo the removal of her ovaries to combat her chances of developing ovarian cancer, the disease that killed her mother, has support from her family in taking radical steps to ensure her future well-being.
"Because of the BRCA gene in the maternal side of the family, Angelina did the smartest thing on earth," Ronald said. "It takes a lot of courage to have your breasts removed."