Old Portrait Shows Angelina Jolie's Family History of Cancer

The actress's uncle shared a photo that shows six family members who lost their lives to cancer


An old photograph of Angelina Jolie and her relatives has made the actress’s decision to undergo preventive surgery all the more real.

The 1977 family portrait – which surfaced Sunday after Jolie’s uncle Ron Martin, 69, shared it with the Sun – captures a young Jolie posed in her late mother and Marcheline Bertrand’s arms. (Bertrand died of ovarian cancer in 2007. The pair is also surrounded by five other adult relatives who lost their lives to various types of cancer.

The photo includes Jolie’s aunt Debbie Martin, great aunt Stella Laws and cousin Francine, who all lost their lives to breast cancer.

The actress’s uncle Raleigh, who died from prostate cancer in his mid-50s, and grandfather Rolland Bertrand, who died from sweat gland cancer, are also present. The portrait was snapped at her granddad’s Las Vegas home nearly 40 years ago, the Sun reports.

Martin (Debbie’s widower) released the portrait in order to raise cancer awareness, according to the British news outlet. He also recently launched the Bertrand BRCA Foundation to support those at risk of BRCA gene mutations, which motivated Jolie to take preventative action.

The Oscar-winning actress, 39, detailed her decision to surgically remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes in a personal essay for The New York Times on Tuesday.

“I feel feminine, and grounded in the choices I am making for myself and my family. I know my children will never have to say, ‘Mom died of ovarian cancer,'” she wrote in the piece.

Her uncle also applauded the Maleficent star for speaking out so publicly.

“She’s very private. In exposing her medical history, she’s doing it for a cause. She can save hundreds of thousands of lives,” Martin told the Sun.

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