Carrie Fisher, the beloved actress best known for her role as Star Wars’ Princess Leia, died on Tuesday, days after suffering a massive heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles. The daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher was 60 years old.
“It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning,” a statement from her family spokesperson said. “She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly. Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.”
Fisher suffered a heart attack on the plane as it was arriving in Los Angeles. An EMT aboard the plane administered CPR, and United Airlines officials alerted the Los Angeles Fire Department shortly before Fisher’s flight touched down at LAX at 12:11 local time. Paramedics met the plane at the gate and took Fisher, who was in critical condition, to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Several well-known comedians and vloggers were on the flight, updating Twitter in real-time. It was said that she had stopped breathing for upwards of 10 minutes.
Fisher’s condition remained murky over the Christmas weekend, as good wishes from fans and Hollywood colleagues poured in over Twitter. Her subsequent death days later brought out a deluge of mourning from co-stars and admirers.
Her passing comes a year after she rejoined the Star Wars universe with a prominent role in The Force Awakens. She had already shot her part in the next Star Wars film.
Fisher went on to star in several iconic comedies, including Blues Brothers, When Harry met Sally, and Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters. More recently, she featured in the Amazon comedy series Catastrophe and made appearances in shows such as 30 Rock and The Big Bang Theory.
Fisher’s rocky personal life became fodder for her best-selling books and hit stage shows. She had a short-lived marriage to Paul Simon in the early ‘80s, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1985, and struggled with substance abuse — including alcohol and cocaine — for much of her life. Her first novel, the semi-autobiographical Postcards from the Edge, was a bestseller, and the movie adaptation starred Meryl Streep in the lead role.
Fisher’s autobiographical play, Wishful Drinking, was a hit in the mid-2000s. And her most recent memoir, The Princess Diarist, about her time working on the Star Wars films, caused a stir by revealing that she had an on-set affair with co-star Harrison Ford.
“Carrie was one-of-a-kind…brilliant, original,” Ford said in a statement on Tuesday. “Funny and emotionally fearless. She lived her life, bravely…My thoughts are with her daughter Billie, her Mother Debbie, her brother Todd, and her many friends. We will all miss her.”
Star Wars mastermind George Lucas said “She was extremely smart; a talented actress, writer and comedienne with a very colorful personality that everyone loved. In Star Wars she was our great and powerful princess - feisty, wise and full of hope in a role that was more difficult than most people might think.”
Less public, but just as crucial, were Fisher’s contributions to numerous hit films as a script doctor, doing largely uncredited work in films such as Sister Act, The River Wild, The Wedding Singer, Intolerable Cruelty, and the Star Wars prequels.
Fisher drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra.