The Hollywood A-lister shared a childhood photo of her and her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, on Instagram, a day before what would have been her mom’s 73rd birthday, Jolie wrote in the caption. Bertrand died in 2007.
“She passed away 15 years ago, after a long struggle with breast and ovarian cancer. In June, I will be a month away from the age when she was diagnosed,” the 47-year-old actor wrote.
“My mom loved [Jimi] Hendrix,” she continued. “And would always sign her letters Kiss the Sky. It took on new meaning after she passed. Sending my love to those who have also lost loved ones and strength to those who are fighting at this very moment for their lives.”
Herself a mother, the actor added that she gets regular checkups despite her past preventive surgeries. Jolie underwent a double mastectomy in 2013 after genetic tests revealed she had an 87% risk of developing breast cancer. She had her ovaries removed in 2015.
Jolie previously reflected on her own surgeries in a 2019 essay for Time.
“I simply feel I made choices to improve my odds of being here to see my children grow into adults, and of meeting my grandchildren,” Jolie wrote at the time. “My hope is to give as many years as I can to their lives, and to be here for them.”
Jolie’s mother was treated for breast and ovarian cancer for a decade and died at 56. Her aunt died of breast cancer at 61 — the same year Jolie got a double mastectomy — while her grandmother died of cancer in her 40s.
Breast cancer is most common in women and is typically spotted by changes in the size, shape or appearance of a breast, according to the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms of ovarian cancer, which is also caused by abnormal cell growth, are less noticeable. Both can be fatal.
Jolie, who shares six children with ex-husband Brad Pitt, wrote in her Time essay that her mother only got to meet “a few” of her grandchildren and was “often too sick to play with them.”
“I’m hoping my choices allow me to live a bit longer,” she wrote in her essay. “I have a patch for hormones, and I need to get regular health checkups. I see and feel changes in my body, but I don’t mind. I’m alive.”