It seems as though this year simply couldn’t end without hitting us with another tragedy.
Carrie Fisher, renowned Star Wars actress, author, and screenwriter, passed away this morning after suffering a heart attack on a plane last week. Family spokesman Simon Halls released a statement which confirmed Fisher’s passing on behalf of the actresses’ daughter, Billie Lourd.
“It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning,” reads the statement. “She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly,” says Lourd. “Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.”
Fisher was flying from London to Los Angeles on Friday, December 23 when she suddenly went into cardiac arrest. She was rushed to a nearby hospital and treated for the heart attack, and was rumored to be in stable condition. However, she passed away in the hospital a mere three days later.
Fisher is the daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and entertainer Eddie Fisher, and made her film debut in the 1975 film, Shampoo. Two years later, she received her breakout role as Princess Leia in George Lucas’ Star Wars (which was later changed to Star Wars: A New Hope). Fisher was only 19 years old at the time, and the film was a critical and box office success, launching Fisher and her costars, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford, into the spotlight.
In her 2016 autobiography, The Princess Diarist, Fisher actually revealed that she had an affair with Ford during the filming of the first Star Wars movie (Ford was married to Mary Marquardt at the time).
Fisher appeared in three other Star Wars films: The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and last year’s The Force Awakens. She also went on to appear in movies such as The Blues Brothers, The Man with One Red Shoe, Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters, and When Harry Met Sally.
Fisher was briefly married to musician Paul Simon in 1983, but the marriage dissolved within a year due to depression, mood swings, and the actresses’ drug use. Fisher was fairly candid about her substance abuse problems, which began when the actress was fairly young. “I never could take alcohol. I always said I was allergic to alcohol, and that’s actually a definition to alcoholism — an allergy of the body and an obsession of the mind,” she once told the Herald-Tribune . “So I didn’t do other kinds of drugs until I was about 20. Then, by the time I was 21 it was LSD. I didn’t love cocaine, but I wanted to feel any way other than the way I did, so I’d do anything.”
When Fisher was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1985, she became a vocal mental health advocate.
Fisher spent the remainder of her career working primarily as a screenwriter, playwright and author. Her first novel, Postcards From The Edge, was published in 1987 and later adapted into a film starring Meryl Streep. In 2006, Fisher wrote and performed in a one-woman play, entitled Wishful Drinking, which was documented by HBO, and ran on Broadway for several months. Fisher also did uncredited work as a script doctor for a multitude of movies, including The Wedding Singer, Hook and Sister Act.
Fisher’s only child, daughter Billie Lourd, was born in 1992 and currently appears as Chanel #3 on the Fox horror-comedy Scream Queens. Fisher dated Lourd’s father, talent agent Bryan Lourd, for three years.