‘The Patriot’ actress, dead at 21, had family in NEPA
The weekend death of 21-year-old actress Skye McCole Bartusiak sparked media coverage from MTV, TMZ, People Magazine and numerous other media outlets.
Perhaps best-known for her role as Mel Gibson’s daughter in the 2000 film, “The Patriot,” Bartusiak’s tragic death hit home, as the actress had family in Luzerne County.
Bartusiak’s aunt, Cathy Fusco, of Pittston Township, said Bartusiak would often spend parts of the summer and winter holidays with family in West Wyoming.
“She was a very sweet girl, I’ve known her since she was a baby,” Fusco said. “(She was) very loving, very caring and extremely gifted and talented.”
Bartusiak’s mother, Helen Bartusiak, told The Associated Press her daughter had been living in a garage apartment at her parents’ home in Houston. She said her daughter’s boyfriend on Saturday found her unresponsive on her bed.
The cause of death was unknown as of Sunday night. However, Helen Bartusiak told CNN she thinks her daughter had a seizure and choked, as she had suffered from epileptic seizures since she was a baby.
Fusco said she had not been a viewer of the FOX television series “24” until her niece first appeared in the series’ second season. After watching the first of eight episodes Bartusiak appeared in, Fusco said she was hooked to the Kiefer Sutherland-starring show.
“If you ever saw the things that she was in, she always portrayed the character to the fullest,” Fusco said.
According to the Internet Movie Database, Bartusiak has 41 credits to her filmography, including an episode of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and two episodes of “George Lopez.” But her most noteworthy credit would likely be the aforementioned “The Patriot.”
While Fusco said she would always watch or record everything Bartusiak appeared in, she had never seen “The Patriot” until last night.
Upon watching her niece in “The Patriot,” Fusco said: “She brought me to tears.”