CNN reports that young actress Skye McCole Bartusiak has passed away in her Houston home on Saturday, aged 21. 

Best known for her role as Mel Gibson's youngest daughter in the 2000 film The Patriot, Sky began acting at the tender age of 6 with a role in the Michael Caine film The Cider House Rules. She also starred with Michael Douglas in Don't Say a Word and her most recent film was 2012's independent thriller Sick Boy, in which she played the lead role. Although never a household name, McCole had a lengthy portfolio of work and was undoubtedly a talented and hardworking actress.

Skye McCole Bartusiak

With fourteen feature film credits to her name as well as additional roles in television and shot films, McCole was a talented young actress

Her family have spoken of their heartbreak at her death, with her mother Helen McCole Bartusiak stating "She was a kind and really beautiful girl." She also spoke of her daughter's love for filmmaking, and mentioned that in recent months she had been preparing to produce and direct her first feature film. “The girl has lived such an amazing life,” her mother said, reflecting on photos of her daughter alongside figures such as Presidents George W. and George H.W. Bush and Mel Gibson.

No cause of death has been announced, but her family suspect that an epileptic fit may be the reason for her tragic passing. McCole had suffered from seizures since childhood but had been healthy for several years before her condition worsened last week.