US actress Carrie Fisher, famous for playing Princess Leia in Star Wars, has died aged 60.
Paramedics rushed Fisher to a nearby hospital after she went into cardiac arrest moments before the plane touched down at LAX, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning,” Simon Halls, a spokesperson for Fisher’s family, said in a statement to People.
“Thank you to everyone who has embraced the gifts and talents of my beloved and amazing daughter,” Fisher’s mother, actress Debbie Reynolds, wrote on Facebook. “I am grateful for your thoughts and prayers that are now guiding her to her next stop.”
In the opening scenes of 1977’s “Star Wars: A New Hope,” Fisher’s Princess Leia is the first major (human) character to stare down Darth Vader, perhaps the most formidable villain in film history.
“I like Princess Leia. I like how she handles things. I like how she treats people. She tells the truth,” Fisher told NPR in November. “I don’t have a real problem with Princess Leia. I’ve sort of melded with her over time,” she added.
On top of her roles in much more grounded fare like 1986’s “Hannah and Her Sisters,” 1989’s “When Harry Met Sally” and various television roles, Fisher mined her love-hate relationship with Leia for several autobiographical books, including her eighth and final book “The Princess Diarist.” Released in November, the memoir digs up diaries she kept while filming the start of the “Star Wars” trilogy.
However Fisher felt about her place in the galaxy, Leia provided a through-line in her career.
“I’ve always been in ‘Star Wars.’ I’ve never not been in ‘Star Wars,’” Fisher told Rolling Stone in 2015, weeks before her character reappeared as a high-ranking member of the rebellion in “The Force Awakens.”
“But I am eternally in ‘Star Wars,’” she added.
Carrie Frances Fisher was born in 1956 to Hollywood couple Reynolds and Eddie Fisher in Beverly Hills, California. At the age of two, her parents divorced after Fisher left Reynolds for Elizabeth Taylor, to whom he was married from 1959 to 1964.
Growing up, she told Charlie Rose in 1994, “I didn’t want to be different than other people and that’s what celebrities are. So being a celebrity kid, that’s the dichotomy. You want to fit in, not stick out. … My fantasy was to be normal.”
At 19, Fisher debuted on the silver screen in the 1975 comedy “Shampoo,” directed by Hal Ashby. Two years later, she would make history in her role as Princess Leia in “Star Wars: A New Hope.”
During the late 1970s and 1980s, Fisher struggled with addiction and has discussed her experience with bipolar disorder in interviews and her work. Fisher’s 1987 novel “Postcards from the Edge” was semi-autobiographical, following the aftermath of an actor’s overdose. She adapted it into a 1990 movie directed by Mike Nichols and starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine.
She was also a prolific screenwriter and script doctor, especially during the 1990s, when she helped to rework films such as “Sister Act” (1992), “Lethal Weapon 3” (1992) and “The Wedding Singer” (1998).
She is survived by Billie Lourd, her daughter with talent agent Bryan Lourd.