Carrie Fisher death: Mark Hamill 'devastated'

They arrived quickly. And they appeared heartfelt, if not entirely from a place of shock, given the gravity of her health since being taken ill last week.

On Tuesday, Billie Lourd a spokesman for Carrie Fisher's family, announced that the 60-year-old actress had died, four days after suffered a cardiac arrest while on a flight from London.

"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."

Within moments, tributes poured in from her fans, from other celebrities and from those actors who had shared the Star Wars adventure with her.

Her co-star Mark Hamill wrote on Twitter simply: "no words #Devastated."

In a statement, Harrison Ford said: "Carrie was one-of-a-kind ... brilliant, original. Funny and emotionally fearless. She lived her life, bravely."

Billy Dee Williams, who played  Lando Calrissian in the franchise, said: "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!"

The Star Wars franchise's creator George Lucas described Fisher as "extremely smart" and "a talented actress, writer and comedienne with a very colourful 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," he said.

Among other notable tributes was one from Stephen Fry.

"She was the brightest, funniest, bravest, kindest, cleverest and sweetest person I ever knew. A crushing blow to lose @carrieffisher," he wrote on Twitter.

The Star Trek actor William Shatner was the inhabitant of a different galaxy but he shared with Fisher both the the burden and privilege of cult fandom.

He said: "I'm deeply saddened to learn of the death of Carrie Fisher. I will miss our banterings. A wonderful talent & light has been extinguished."

Fisher's mother, the Hollywood star Debbie Reynolds, wrote in a message on Facebook: "Thank you to everyone who has embraced the gifts and talents of my beloved and amazing daughter.

"I am grateful for your thoughts and prayers that are now guiding her to her next stop. Love Carrie's Mother."