ESCONDIDO, Calif. - A devastating blow for Angelina Jolie and her family: less than two weeks after the actress went public with her decision to have a double mastectomy, her aunt has died from the disease.
Palomar Hospital confirms to 10News that Debbie Martin, the 61-year-old aunt of Jolie, lost her battle with breast cancer at the Escondido hospital
Martin was the younger sister of Jolie's mother, Marcheline Bertrand.
Jolie's mother died in 2007 of ovarian cancer at the age of 56.
Martin's passing comes just two weeks after Jolie revealed to the world that she underwent a proactive double mastectomy to reduce her risk of getting breast cancer.
Jolie tested positive for the gene mutation BRCA1 which sharply increases her risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Her aunt tested positive for BRCA1 as well, but didn't know it until after she was diagnosed with cancer.
Martin's husband Ron told E! News, "We have seen Angelina a number of times since Debbie was diagnosed with breast cancer. 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."
Jolie's doctors estimated that she had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman. Since her surgery, she says her chances of developing breast cancer have dropped to under five percent."