Two weeks ago, Angelina Jolie wrote a New York Times op-ed revealing she’d undergone a double mastectomy to minimize her risk of breast cancer, explaining that a “faulty” gene made her much more likely to develop the disease.
Now, her aunt Debbie Martin has sadly died of breast cancer, aged 61. Her husband, Ron Martin, confirmed she passed away Sunday at a hospital in Escondido, Calif., near San Diego. She was the younger sister of Jolie’s mother, Marcheline Bertrand, who died from ovarian cancer in 2007.
Ron said that, until Debbie was diagnosed with cancer in 2004, she didn’t know she had the same defective BRCA1 gene that compelled Jolie to have a double mastectomy. “Had we known, we certainly would have done exactly what Angelina did,” Ron said.