Carrie Fisher speaking at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con International in San Diego, California. Photo by Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
Carrie Fisher speaking at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con International in San Diego, California. Photo by Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
Actress, screenwriter and author Carrie Fisher, known the world over for her iconic role as Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” films, died Tuesday, four days after suffering cardiac arrest aboard a flight from London to Los Angeles. She was 60.

The news of Fisher’s death at 8:55 a.m. in UCLA Medical Center’s intensive care unit was confirmed by her only child, Billie Lourd, via the 24- year-old actress’ publicist.   “She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly,” Lourd said. “Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.”

Fisher’s mother, Hollywood icon Debbie Reynolds, issued a statement via Facebook, signing it “Carries mother.”

“Thank you to everyone who has embraced the gifts and talents of my beloved and amazing daughter,” she said. “I am grateful for your thoughts and prayers that are now guiding her to the next stop.”

Fisher was stricken in the last half-hour of the 11-hour flight on Friday and was tended by nurse passengers aboard the plane, which was met by Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics. They performed advanced life-saving measures before rushing her to the hospital, where she was placed on a ventilator. She never regained consciousness.

Her brother Todd told ABC7 that the family had hoped for the best.

“We’ve just seen her pull out so many times and survive so many things that there was no way to talk. I hope people don’t think our silence was anything more than us praying for the best,” he said.

“Everybody is just a little bit in shock because she’s so young and was doing so great and to have her have a cardiac arrest at this age, to say the least, is unexpected,” he said. “We’ve really been close our whole lives and it’s a very strange place to be looking at the world without her.”

Her noted that his sister’s “words will go on long after we’ve all left. She left so much of her thoughts and feelings with us all.”

Late Tuesday, her half-sister, Joely Fisher, tweeted: “Breaking my silence with a broken heart…the unfathomable loss…the earth is off its axis today…how dare you take her away from us.”

Known for her sharp wit and honesty about her life’s up and downs, Fisher was beloved in Hollywood, where celebrities took to Twitter with an outpouring of condolences and remembrances upon news of her death.

Hr “Star Wars” co-star Mark Hamill tweeted “no words. #Devastated,” above a photo of the two of them in the first “Star Wars” movie.

Harrison Ford, who played the dashing pilot Hans Solo in the franchise, issued a statement calling

“one-of-a-kind… brilliant, original, funny and emotionally fearless. She lived her life bravely …”

Anthony Daniels, who portrayed the droid C-3PO, tweeted: “I thought I had got what I wanted under the tree. I didn’t. … I am very, very sad.”

Billy Dee Williams, who played Lando Calrissian in two films in the “Star Wars” franchise, said he was “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!”

Seth MacFarlane, who worked with Fisher on the animated series “Family Guy,” described her as “smart, funny, talented, surprising, and always a hell of a fun time to be around. `Family Guy’ will miss her immensely.”

Director Steven Spielberg said: “I have always stood in awe of Carrie. Her observations always made me laugh and gasp at the same time. She didn’t need The Force. She was a force of nature, of loyalty and of friendship. I will miss her very much.”

Dan Akroyd referenced working with Fisher in “The Blues Brothers,” calling her “our beautiful brilliant funny wise kind and generous Blues Sister” and writing that her Christmastime death was “so ironic – Xmas was Carrie’s favorite thing next to babies.”

Fisher pioneered the Princess Leia character in George Lucas’ “Star Wars” trilogy, the first film of which was released in 1977. She reprised her role in the 2015 film “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and will appear as Leia Organa in the eighth film in the series, which wrapped filming in July and is now in post-production.

In a statement, Lucas said Fisher “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.”

As a child of Hollywood royalty born in Beverly Hills, Fisher’s childhood was anything but ordinary. She was 2 years old and her brother an infant when their father, the late singer-actor Eddie Fisher, left her mother to have an affair with actress Elizabeth Taylor, who was a close friend of Reynolds and the widow of Fisher’s close friend Mike Todd.

Fisher drew on her experiences in her semi-autobiographical novels, including “Postcards From the Edge,” which was made into a movie based on her screenplay.

Her struggles with cocaine and prescription medication abuse are memorialized in her memoir, “Wishful Drinking,” which was adapted from her one-woman stage play of the same name.

Fisher, who was bipolar, also was open about her struggle with mental illness and became a powerful mental health advocate.

Fisher authored a total of eight books. Her latest, “The Princess Diarist,” made headlines when it was released in November for its disclosure that she had an affair with then-married actor Harrison Ford during filming of the original “Star Wars.”

The actress was briefly married to singer Paul Simon in the 1980s. Her daughter was fathered by talent agent Bryan Lourd.

Fisher was stricken while en route home for the holidays after touring to promote “The Princess Diarist.” While in London, she also filmed episodes for the third season of the Amazon Prime comedy series “Catastrophe,” where she played the mother of star Rob Delaney’s character.

Fisher made her film debut as as teen in “Shampoo” in 1975, two years before becoming famous as Princess Leia in George Lucas’ classic film.

Her other film credits include “The Blues Brothers,” “The Man with One Red Shoe,” “Hannah and Her Sisters,” “The ‘Burbs,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” and “Fanboys.”

On “Family Guy,” Fisher was the voice of Peter Griffin’s brewery boss, Angela.

A documentary, “Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds,” is scheduled to be screened at the Palm Springs Film Festival early next month and air on HBO in March.

“Star Trek” actor George Takei tweeted goodbye to a fellow sci-fi icon this way: “May her soul rest in eternal peace, as we return her to the heavens, in a galaxy far, far away.”

There was no immediate word on funeral plans.

 

 

—City News Service

 

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