Carrie Fisher gone: Tributes flow for Star Wars' princess

CARRIE Fisher, the actor, writer and daughter of Hollywood royalty who became internationally famous as Princess Leia of Star Wars, has died, Variety has confirmed. She was 60.

Fisher died on Tuesday morning local time in Los Angeles after suffering what was described as a massive heart attack on Friday while on a flight from London. She had been in London filming episodes of the Amazon/Channel 4 comedy Catastrophe.

Fisher was rushed from Los Angeles International Airport to UCLA Medical Center after the plane landed. She appeared at first to be rallying with her mother, actor Debbie Reynolds, tweeting only yesterday that she was in a stable condition.

Her death comes just two days after singer George Michael's passing, also from a suspected heart attack.

Following news of her death celebrities immediately took to social media to offer tributes.

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"I'm deeply saddened to learn of the death of Carrie Fisher. I will miss our banterings. A wonderful talent & light has been extinguished," said Star Trek star William Shatner.

Actress Carrie Fisher.
Actress Carrie Fisher. Contributed

Other celebrities who shared tributes online included Anna Kendrick, Mia Farrow, Whoopi Goldberg and Stephen Fry who called her the "sweetest person I ever knew".

Fellow presenter Graham Norton tweeted: "you will be missed. I wish you peace."

The author and actor may be best known for her portrayal of Leia, but she is also an accomplished writer known for no-holds-barred accounts of her struggles with addiction and mental illness.

Her thinly veiled autobiography Postcards from the Edge was adapted into a 1987 film version starring Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep. She also transformed her one-woman show Wishful Drinking, which played on Broadway and was filmed for HBO, into a book.

Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher

Most recently, Fisher has been promoting her latest book, The Princess Diarist, in which she reveals that she and co-star Harrison Ford had an affair on the set of Star Wars .

Fisher was the daughter of actor Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, whose marriage famously broke up when Eddie Fisher had an affair with Elizabeth Taylor.

She often remarked that she was born in the spotlight, and her life and career reflected the highs and lows of the entertainment business. Her mother's career struggles after her 1950s heyday weighed heavily on Fisher.

"I grew up on the back side of show business. So I had no desire to go into it. It had beat up my mother," Fisher told the New York Times in 2006. "I had a front-and-centre view of how that hurt her. I understood that when they were done with you, they were done."

In her writing and in public, Fisher was revealing about her battles with drugs and mental health issues.

Her outspokenness about addiction earned her a lifetime achievement award from Harvard College in 2016 for cultural humanitarianism.

After her parents divorced when she was two, Fisher was estranged from her father for decades until she became his caretaker prior to his death in 2010.

Fisher got her start in the family business at age 15, when she appeared alongside Reynolds in the 1973 Broadway revival of Irene.

But it was 1977's Star Wars, later re-titled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope that brought Fisher international recognition.

Cloaked in white with her hair parted and tucked into two spiral side twists, the now-legendary character Princess Leia first appeared in the film as the fearless leader of the planet Alderaan, agent of the Rebel Alliance and member of the Imperial Senate.

Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher

The film earned six Oscars and launched a franchise of epic proportions. Two sequels followed A New Hope - The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and Return of the Jedi in 1983 - to form what is now known as the original trilogy.
Fisher in 2005 with

Fisher's personal life was also tumultuous. She began dating musician Paul Simon in 1977 and married him in 1983, but the union lasted less than a year.

Fisher had one child, daughter Billie Catherine Lourd in 1992, with CAA managing partner Bryan Lourd.

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Fisher's relationship with Lourd ended in 1994 and, although they were never married, Fisher frequently referred to Lourd in interviews as her second husband.

She was candid in her writing and elsewhere about the emotional experience of having Lourd leave her for a man.