Skye McCole Bartusiak, the 21-year-old actress who played Mel Gibson's youngest child in ‘The Patriot,’ had been suffering from epileptic seizures the week before she was found dead in her Texas home.
While the immediate cause of death is unknown, Bartusiak suffered epileptic seizures since she was a baby. The ailment had disappeared until a week ago. Her boyfriend found her sitting up in her bed in her garage apartment on Saturday. “We think she had a seizure and choked and nobody was there,” Helen McCole Bartusiak, the actress’ mother, told CNN.
Her mother, who performed CPR on her before the paramedics arrived, remembers her as kind and beautiful. “We lost our girl,” she told CNN.
Bartusiak's mother also told The Associated Press the actress had been living in a garage apartment at her parents' home. She said the actress had been healthy and did not drink or do drugs and the family did not yet know a cause of death.
Bartusiak made her acting debut at the age of six in the television miniseries "Storm of the Century" in 1999 and also had a role on "24" in 2002-2003. She made her film debut in the "The Cider House Rules" in 1999 and starred with Michael Douglas in "Don't Say a Word" in 2001. Her most recent move was "Sick Boy" in 2012.
But Bartusiak was best known for her role in Gibson's Revolutionary War epic "The Patriot," where she played the daughter of militia leader Benjamin Martin who struggles to speak with her father.
"The Patriot" cast also included Heath Ledger, who died after an accidental overdose of painkillers and sedatives in 2008.
Bartusiak most recently starred in a low-budget thriller called Sick Boy, which was released in 2012. She also had television appearances on 24, House, Lost and CSI.
Her mother said she was preparing to direct and produce her first feature film. "I've done CPR on that kid more than one time," she said, "and it just didn't work this time."