LOS ANGELES (CBS SF & AP) — Carrie Fisher, beloved by legions of fans for nearly 40 years since she first walked the corridors of a “Star Wars” spacecraft as Princess Leia Organa, has died, according to a family statement. She was 60.
According to a statement released by family spokesman Simon Halls on behalf of Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, Fisher passed away at 8:55 a.m.
“It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning. She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly. Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.”
Fisher, the daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and crooner Eddie Fisher, had been hospitalized since Friday, when paramedics responded to a patient in distress at Los Angeles International Airport. Fisher’s family said she was in intensive care Friday evening.
Fisher’s best friend, her beloved companion “Gary” tweeted:
San Francisco-based Lucasfilm’s President, Kathleen Kennedy released the following statement:
“We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Carrie Fisher, who in addition to being both a celebrated actor and author, is a cherished member of the Lucasfilm family. She was adored by all who knew her for her endearing personality and delightfully sharp wit.”
“Carrie holds such special place in the hearts of everyone at Lucasfilm it is difficult to think of a world without her. She was Princess Leia to the world but a very special friend to all of us. She had an indomitable spirit, incredible wit, and a loving heart. Carrie also defined the female hero of our age over a generation ago. Her groundbreaking role as Princess Leia served as an inspiration of power and confidence for young girls everywhere. We will miss her dearly.”
– Kathleen Kennedy, President, Lucasfilm
Reactions to her death began as word spread quickly:
Harrison Ford issued a statement calling Fisher “one-of-a-kind.”
“Carrie was one-of-a-kind…brilliant, original,” he said in the statement. “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.”
Meanwhile, George Lucas said Fisher was “extremely smart; a talented actress, writer and comedienne.”
“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,” Lucas said in a statement. “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. She will be missed by all.”
Fisher is considered by many to be a member of Hollywood royalty — her parents are actress Debbie Reynolds and the late singer Eddie Fisher. Reynolds took to Twitter on Tuesday to thank their many fans for their support:
She made her feature film debut opposite Warren Beatty in the 1975 hit “Shampoo.” She also appeared in “Austin Powers,” ”The Blues Brothers,” ”Charlie’s Angels,” ”Hannah and Her Sisters,” ”Scream 3″ and “When Harry Met Sally …”
But Fisher is best remembered as the tough, feisty and powerful Princess Leia in the original “Star Wars” in 1977, uttering the immortal phrase “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope,” her hair styled in futuristic braided buns.
Catapulted to stardom when the original “Star Wars” was released in 1977, Fisher reprised the role as the leader of a galactic rebellion in three sequels, including last year’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Fisher long battled drug addiction and mental illness. She said she smoked pot at age 13, used LSD by 21 and was first diagnosed as bipolar at age 24. She was treated with electroconvulsive therapy and medication.
In 1987, her thinly veiled autobiography “Postcards From the Edge” became a best seller. It became a 1990 film starring Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep.
More books followed: “Delusions of Grandma,” ”Surrender the Pink,” ”The Best Awful,” ”Shockaholic” and this year’s autobiography, “The Princess Diarist,” in which she revealed that she and co-star Harrison Ford had an affair on the set of “Star Wars.”
Ever ready to satirize herself, she has even played Carrie Fisher a few times, as in David Cronenberg’s dark Hollywood sendup “Maps to the Stars” and in an episode of “Sex and the City.” In the past 15 years, Fisher also had a somewhat prolific career as a television guest star, recently in the Amazon show “Catastrophe” as the mother of Rob Delaney’s lead, and perhaps most memorably as a has-been comedy legend on “30 Rock.”
Her one-woman show, “Wishful Drinking,” which she’s performed on and off across the country since 2006, was turned into a book, made its way to Broadway in 2009 and was captured for HBO in 2010.
Little was off-limits in the show. She discussed the scandal that engulfed her superstar parents, Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher (he ran off with Elizabeth Taylor); her brief marriage to singer Paul Simon; the time the father of her daughter left her for a man; and the day she woke up next to the dead body of a platonic friend who had overdosed in her bed.
“I’m a product of Hollywood inbreeding. When two celebrities mate, something like me is the result,” she said in the show. At another point, she cracked: “I don’t have a problem with drugs so much as I have a problem with sobriety.”
“She was funnier&smarter than anyone had the right to be,” Whoopi Goldberg wrote on Twitter Tuesday. “Sail On Silver Girl. Condolences Debbie & Billie.”
“Hail Hail! A genius has vacated this realm-RIP Carrie Fisher,” Roseanne Barr posted on the site.
Besides her daughter, Fisher is survived by her brother, Todd Fisher, and her mother.
In a 2009 interview with The Associated Press, Fisher wasn’t coy about revealing details about her unusual life, whether it was about drug addiction, mental illness or her failed relationships. She hoped to destigmatize mental health problems.
“People relate to aspects of my stories and that’s nice for me because then I’m not all alone with it,” she said. “Also, I do believe you’re only as sick as your secrets. If that’s true, I’m just really healthy.”