John Travolta and Kelly Preston with their son Jett and daughter Ella Bleu [Photo: Getty Images]

John Travolta has spent years haunted by the death of his teenage son Jett as wild conspiracy theories swirled and the family became embroiled in a shocking blackmail case.

Jett Travolta, who had autism, was just 16 when he suffered a seizure and died during a family holiday in the Bahamas over the New Year break in 2009.

The tragedy left Travolta, 66, and his wife Kelly Preston, 57, devastated but their grief was tainted by rumours and suspicion, which eventually led to a headline-grabbing court case.

Travolta and Kelly had been celebrating New Year at their luxurious holiday home at the Old Bahama Bay Hotel on Grand Bahama Island with their son Jett, 16, and daughter Ella Bleu, then eight.

Jett, who had a history of seizures, collapsed in the bathroom and hit his head and was later declared dead at the Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport.

The teen, who was believed to have required constant supervision, is said to have been found unconscious on the floor by a maid who raised the alarm with the hotel's front desk.

After the tragedy, the family was plagued by rumours about the standard of care Jett had been given on the day he died, with concerns raised about their devotion to Scientology.

Speculation suggested that the controversial church does not recognise conditions such as autism, and this could have played a part.

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The rumour-mill went up a gear when it later emerged that Travolta had gone to the police claiming he'd been the victim of a £20 million blackmail plot.

The actor alleged he'd been targeted Tarino Lightbourne, the ambulance driver called to tend to Jett, and his lawyer Pleasant Bridgewater.

Lightbourne claimed Travolta and his team were worried about the circumstances surrounding Jett's collapse and instructed him to be flown to a medical centre in Florida rather than the hospital 15 minutes away.

They both denied extortion charges and went to trial later that year.

During the court case, it was alleged that he and his lawyer had demanded millions from the star in exchange for the return of an indemnity form Travolta had signed.

The form was said to prove the actor had refused to send his son to the local hospital for treatment, but later changed his mind and allowed Jett to be taken to the nearby medical centre.

His teenage son Jett died during a holiday in the Bahamas in 2009 [Photo: Courtesy]

However, as the dramatic trial neared its conclusion and the jury was sent out to deliberate - the family was dealt another blow when the judge ordered a retrial.

It came after a politician in the Bahamas went on TV and claimed one of the defendants had been found not guilty - before the verdict had actually been reached.

A new trial was set, but another surprise came when Travolta decided to drop the case.

The Hollywood veteran, who had spent millions on legal fees, announced he did not want to return to the Bahamas to testify for a second time and insisted the family wanted to move on.

In a statement, he explained: "The long-pending status of this matter continued to take a heavy emotional toll on my family, causing us to conclude that it was finally time to put this matter behind us.

"Therefore, after much reflection, I concluded that it was in my family's best interest for me not to voluntarily return to The Bahamas to testify a second time at trial."

The charges against both Lightbourne and Bridgewater were later dropped.

Lightbourne later went into detail about what happened on the day of Jett's death in an interview with the Daily Mail, alleging there was a 15-minute delay in calling emergency services.

He also stunningly claimed Jett had been dead for some time before paramedics arrived on the scene.

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Lightbourne claimed a doctor, who ran a surgery near the resort was at the scene and claimed Jett fell "a few minutes" before the ambulance crew go there, but he didn't agree.

He said: "The boy’s eyes were fixed and dilated, I noticed dry blood stains around both his ears and nostrils and the sides of his mouth ... and the body was already in a state of rigor mortis.

"That usually starts about three hours after death.

"With my back turned to the other people in the room, I whispered to the doctor: “This boy is dead. Why don’t you call it [pronounce death]? ’

"Dr Fernandez said: 'I know - just continue with CPR [cardiopulmonary resuscitation].'"

Lightbourne speculated a party had been going on and Jett had been left unsupervised and was not found for several hours after falling and hitting his head.

No further details about Jett's final day have been released, an autopsy report was not made public and no inquest into his death took place.

The body was cremated in the Bahamas shortly after his passing and later flown back to the family's native Florida.

John and Kelly went on to welcome a third child, son Benjamin, a year after Jett's death.