Unfortunately, the celebrity news headlines seem to be filled with sad stories this year and now there’s another one as word came on Tuesday, December 27 that actress Carrie Fisher passed away at the age of 60.
Fisher was in intensive care at the UCLA Medical Center after suffering what is believed to be a cardiac arrest on December 23 while aboard a United Airlines flight from London to Los Angeles.
According to TMZ, she was on life support after the cardiac arrest, which means her heart stopped beating.
Her 24-year-old daughter Billie Lourd announced her death via a statement from the family’s spokesperson, Simon Halls.
“It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning,” read the statement.
“She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly. Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.”
Carrie Fisher’s Notable Career
Fisher is, of course, best known for her role as Princess Leia Organa in Star Wars, which she landed when she was only 19. She would reprise the role in The Empire Strikes Back in 1980, Return of the Jedi in 1983.
“I knew that something enormous was likely going to impact my life from this film and that there was absolutely no way of understanding what that was or was likely to be,” she told People of the 1977 sci-fi classic in 2015.
The role would become the most notable of her career and one of the most iconic film roles of all time.
In 2015, she returned to the franchise (this time as General Leia Organa) in Star War: The Force Awakens.
She recently wrapped shooting on the currently untitled Episode VIII. As of this writing, there is no word from Disney or Lucasfilm on whether or not she was expected to return for Episode XIX.
Celebrity Friends Remember Carrie Fisher
Fisher will forever be linked to the Star Wars series and to co-stars Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford. Hamill, who starred opposite Fisher as Luke Skywalker, tweeted his heartbreak at the news of her passing on Tuesday.
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) December 27, 2016
Ford, who played Leia’s love interest, Han Solo, in the films, released a statement, which read:
“Carrie was one-of-a-kind…brilliant, original. 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.”
Fellow Star Wars co-stars Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels and Billy Dee Williams also took to the social media to offer their condolences.
There are no words for this loss. Carrie was the brightest light in every room she entered. I will miss her dearly. pic.twitter.com/GgIeYGeMt9
— Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) December 27, 2016
I thought I had got what I wanted under the tree. I didn’t. In spite of so many thoughts and prayers from so many. I am very, very sad.
— Anthony Daniels (@ADaniels3PO) December 27, 2016
I’m deeply saddened at the news of Carrie’s passing. She was a dear friend, whom I greatly respected and admired. The force is dark today!
— Billy Dee Williams (@realbdw) December 27, 2016
Finally, Star Wars creator George Lucas issued a statement following her passing.
“Carrie and I have been friends most of our adult lives. 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. My heart and prayers are with Billie, Debbie and all Carrie’s family, friends, and fans.”
Fisher played royalty on screen and was born into Hollywood royalty in real-life. The daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, Carrie’s first on-screen role came as a teenager in her mom’s TV movie, Debbie Reynolds and the Sound of Children.
Reynolds shared her appreciation for the outpouring of love through her Facebook page.
Fisher’s post-Star Wars film career included roles in The Blues Brothers, Hannah and Her Sisters, The ‘Burbs, and When Harry Met Sally.
She would continue to act through the 1990’s and 2000’s often in guest spots on TV shows and smaller roles in film while also developing a second career as a writer.
In addition to working as a script doctor on movies such as Hook and Sister Act, Fisher was an author penning numerous semi-autobiographical novels. One of which was Postcards from the Edge. Fisher earned a BAFTA nomination for her screenplay 1990 movie adaptation which starred Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine. At the time of her death, she was on a promotional tour for her latest book, The Princess Diarist.
Carrie Fisher’s Charity Work
Outside of her career, Fisher was a staunch advocate for mental illness awareness. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1985 and was hospitalized following a psychotic episode in 1997.
“I have a chemical imbalance that, in its most extreme state, will lead me to a mental hospital,” she said in an interview with Diane Sawyer.
“I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on.”
Fisher’s openness about her struggle with bipolar disorder helped to dispel misconceptions about the disease and mental health as a whole.
“One of the things that baffles me (and there are quite a few) is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls,” she wrote in her 2008 memoir, Wishful Drinking.
“At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of.”
In her personal life, Fisher was briefly married to singer Paul Simon in 1983 and conceived her only child, Billie Lourd, with her then partner, talent agent Bryan Lourd.
Fisher is survived by her daughter, mother, brother, two half sisters, and her French bulldog Gary, a therapy dog who frequently accompanied her on the red carpet and in interviews such as the one below in which the actress displays her witty charm with Good Morning America host Amy Robach in 2015.
May the force be with you, Carrie. You will be missed.