“It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms
that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning,” family
spokesperson Simon Halls said in a statement to ET on behalf of Fisher’s
daughter, Billie Lourd, on Tuesday. “She was loved by the world and she will be
missed profoundly. Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.”
Fisher was on a flight from London to Los Angeles
International Airport on Friday when she went into cardiac arrest. Los Angeles
Fire Department spokesman Eric Scott told ET that they responded to LAX for a
patient on an inbound flight in cardiac arrest at 12:11 p.m., and paramedics
provided advanced life support and aggressively treated and transported the
patient to a local hospital.
The daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie
Reynolds, Fisher was born into the industry, making her onscreen debut in
1975’s Shampoo. At the age of 20, she became an overnight sensation for
playing Princess Leia in Star Wars IV -- A New Hope in 1977.
The original Star Wars films -- A New Hope, The
Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi -- would go on to define
Fisher’s career, largely thanks to her iconic portrayal of a modern damsel in
distress. Leia was a princess unlike any other. She didn’t need to rely on men -- Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) or Han Solo (Harrison Ford) -- to rescue her or
coil in the presence of the dreaded Darth Vader. Sure, she found romance in the
end, but it was very much on her own accord.
Leia’s metal bikini -- which Fisher wore in Jedi and
on the 1983 cover of Rolling Stone -- also made the actress a sex symbol
of the ‘80s. She later refuted the status, telling Star Wars newcomer
Daisy Ridley “that’s an opinion of someone” during a 2015 conversation for Interview
magazine. Fisher even went so far as to warn Ridley not be forced to wear a
similar costume. “You should fight for your outfit,” she advised. “Don't be a
slave like I was.”
Fisher reprised her role as Princess Leia in The Force
Awakens, the first film of Disney’s continuation of creator George Lucas’
franchise, reuniting her with Ford. In November, the actress opened up about an
“intense” affair she had with the actor 40 years prior. In her new
memoir, The Princess Diarist, Fisher reveals that she began an
affair with the then-33-year-old Ford after a birthday party for Lucas,
and their fling continued for three months during filming. "I looked over
at Harrison. A hero’s face… How could you ask such a shining specimen of a man
to be satisfied with the likes of me?" Fisher wrote in her memoir.
Fisher’s other notable film roles included The Blues
Brothers, Hannah and Her Sisters and When Harry Met Sally.
In addition to acting, Fisher also became known for her
writing, starting with the semi-autobiographical novel, Postcards From the
Edge, about an actress dealing with drug addiction and coming to terms with
her relationship with her mother, which she later adapted for the Mike Nichols’
film of the same name starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine. Fisher’s
relationship with Reynolds would eventually serve as an undercurrent to her
most autobiographical work, the revealing 2008 autobiography, Wishful
Based on her hit one-woman stage show, Wishful Drinking
revealed what it was like growing up in Hollywood, becoming a cultural icon at
such a young age, her battles with drugs and issues surrounding her mental
In the three decades after Star Wars, Fisher was very
frank about her personal issues, publicly discussing her bipolar disorder on
ABC’s 20/20 and opening up about electroshock therapy treatments on The
Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
Fisher also wrote the screenplay for the 2001 TV film, These
Old Broads, starring her mother as well as Reynolds’ old rival, Elizabeth Taylor,
in her final film role. Fisher and Reynolds also revisited their irritable but
loving relationship in the new documentary, Bright Lights: Starring Debbie
Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, which is scheduled to air on HBO in 2017.
While Fisher had a troubled relationship with fame and her
success associated with Star Wars, she returned to the franchise in 2015
for The Force Awakens and will next be seen in the untitled sequel, Episode VIII. Her likeness as Princess Leia also appears at
the end of the new Star Wars standalone film, Rogue One, forever
cementing her fate as the damsel who redefined what it meant to be a princess.