The actress and mother to Angelina Jolie, Marcheline Bertrand, has died aged 56 after battling cancer.

Ms Bertrand had been diagnosed with the disease almost eight years ago and died on Saturday afternoon at Cedars-Sinai medical centre in Los Angeles. Angelina and boyfriend Brad Pitt were at the hospital alongside Angelina's older brother the director James Haven.

Grandmother to Angelina's three children Maddox, Shiloh and Zahara, Ms Bertrand raised her two children largely by herself after her divorce from actor Jon Voight and gave up her ambitions as an actress to care for them.

She had previously had supporting roles in films such as The Man Who Loved Women in 1983 and Lookin' to Get Out the year after.

Speaking in a recent interview, the Tomb Raider star Angelina said that her inspiration to become an actress was instilled by her mother not her more famous Oscar-wining father, with whom she is thought to have little contact.

A private funeral is to be held and the family have requested that donations to the hospital's women's cancer research fund be given instead of flowers.

29/01/2007 08:21:36