LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Carrie Fisher, who rose to fame as Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” films and later endured drug addiction and stormy romances with show business heavyweights, died on Tuesday aged 60, her daughter said through a family spokesman.
“It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning,” Lourd said in a statement issued by Simon Halls. “She was loved by the world, and she will be missed profoundly.”
Fisher’s friend and former Star Wars’ co-star Mark Hamill said in a tweet: “No words. #Devastated”
William Shatner, best known for his role in the television series “Star Trek,” said he would miss her. “A wonderful talent & light has been extinguished.”
Fisher, the daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, who died in 2010, had been in England shooting the third season of the British sitcom “Catastrophe.”
She suffered a heart attack during a flight on Friday from London to Los Angeles. She was met by paramedics and rushed to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
Her death came a month after the actress and author made headlines by disclosing that she had a three-month love affair with her “Star Wars” co-star Harrison Ford 40 years ago.
Fisher revealed the secret to People magazine while promoting her new memoir, “The Princess Diarist,” just before it went on sale. The book is based on Fisher’s diaries from her time working on the first “Star Wars” movie.
Fisher said the affair started and ended in 1976 during production on the blockbuster sci-fi adventure in which she first appeared as the intrepid Princess Leia. Ford played the maverick space pilot Han Solo.
“It was so intense,” Fisher told People. “It was Han and Leia during the week, and Carrie and Harrison during the weekend.” She was 19 and Ford was 33 at the time of the affair.
“How could you ask such a shining specimen of a man to be satisfied with the likes of me? I was so inexperienced, but I trusted something about him. He was kind,” she wrote of Ford in the memoir, the latest of several books Fisher authored over the years.
Fisher reprised the role in two “Star Wars” sequels. She gained sex symbol status in 1983’s “Return of the Jedi” when her Leia character wore a metallic gold bikini while enslaved by the diabolical Jabba the Hutt.
She returned last year in Disney’s reboot of the “Star Wars” franchise, “The Force Awakens,” appearing as the more matronly General Leia Organa, leader of the Resistance movement fighting the evil First Order.
Filming was completed in July on Fisher’s next appearance as Leia in “Star Wars: Episode VIII,” which is set to reach theaters in December 2017.
Shortly after news of her death was made public, her dog Gary, who has his own Twitter account, said goodbye: “Saddest tweets to tweet. Mommy is gone. I love you @carrieffisher.”
EARLY SHOWBIZ START
Fisher also played a memorable supporting role in the 1989 hit film “When Harry Met Sally,” as a friend of Meg Ryan’s character who falls for and marries the best pal of Billy Crystal’s character.
More recently, Fisher played the American mother-in-law on the British television comedy “Catastrophe,” whose first two seasons Amazon Prime Video carried for U.S. subscribers.
Born in Beverly Hills, Carrie Fisher got her showbiz start at age 12 in her mother’s Las Vegas nightclub act. She made her film debut as a teenager in the 1975 comedy “Shampoo,” two years before her “Star Wars” breakthrough.
But her life was also mired at times in substance abuse, mental illness and tumultuous romances with other entertainment figures, all of which he laid bare in her books, interviews and a one-woman stage show titled “Wishful Drinking.”
She was once engaged to comic actor Dan Aykroyd, later married, then divorced, singer-songwriter Paul Simon, and had a daughter out of wedlock with Hollywood talent agent Brian Lourd.
After undergoing treatment in the mid-1980s for cocaine addition, she wrote the bestselling novel, “Postcards from the Edge,” about a drug-abusing actress forced to move back in with her mother. She later adapted the book into a film that starred Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine.
She admitted in a 2011 interview with Reuters that tabloid exposure of her private life could be trying.
It is a haunting image, a famous music star staring out from the window of his country home as the village Christmas procession passed by – life going on without him.
To his fans he was the defining pop idol of their generation, to his admirers he had one of the most beautiful soul voices in British pop, but this last sighting of George Michael reveals that he died the death of a recluse.
His boyfriend has revealed how the singer-songwriter, who gave us one of the most-loved Christmas songs of all time, had died alone on Christmas morning, at the age of just 53.
Fadi Fawaz, a celebrity hairdresser, who had been in a relationship with the star since 2011, said he discovered the singer when he went to his home in Oxfordshire.
He told The Telegraph: “We were supposed to be going for Christmas lunch. I went round there to wake him up and he was just gone, lying peacefully in bed. We don’t know what happened yet.
“Everything had been very complicated recently, but George was looking forward to Christmas, and so was I.
“Now everything is ruined. I want people to remember him the way he was – he was a beautiful person.”
In recent years, the hedonistic lifestyle that the singer became famous for had left the once dashingly handsome pop icon a bloated version of himself.
It can also be revealed that during the past year he is thought to have battled heroin addiction.
A source revealed that Michael had been treated in hospital for an overdose.
“He’s been rushed to A&E on several occasions,” the source said. “He used heroin. I think it’s amazing he’s lasted as long as he has.”
Cardiac arrest – the cause of death according to Michael’s manager, Michael Lipman – is common amongst those who have used heroin.