21-year-old Skye McCole Bartusiak died on Saturday (July 19) in her Houston home. She was found in her bed in the garage apartment next to her parent’s home by her boyfriend. Skye has suffered from epileptic seizures since she was a baby, and though cause of death is still unknown, it’s likely she died from an attack.
Best-known for her role as Mel Gibson’s daughter in the 2000 film “The Patriot,” Bartusiak also appeared in “The Cider House Rules,” “Don’t Say a Word” and other movies, as well as TV shows like “24” and “CSI.”
“We lost our girl,” her mother Helen McCole Bartusiak told CNN. “She was a kind and really beautiful girl.”
The investigation into Skye’s death is ongoing, but she had been reportedly struggling with epileptic seizures again after a long hiatus. Epilepsy attacks can be completely random — and fatal — if the victim’s airway passage becomes blocked, or if they are alone during the attack.
“We think she had a seizure and choked and nobody was there,” her mother said. “They were working on her for 45 minutes and could not get a heartbeat. I’ve done CPR on that kid more than one time and it just didn’t work this time.”
Helen began to perform CPR on Skye before the paramedics arrived, but sadly, it was too late to restore a heartbeat. CNN reports that on Sunday morning, her mother was looking through photos of Skye’s wonderful life in order to find some images for the funeral. These included pictures of her daughter with Presidents George W. and George H.W. Bush and Mel Gibson, among others.
“The girl has lived such an amazing life,” her mother said. Our deepest condolences are with the Bartusiak family at this time.