Hollywood Mourns Iconic 'Star Wars' Star Carrie Fisher

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Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford in 1978

The actress died Tuesday morning following a heart attack last week.

Carrie Fisher, best known as Princess Leia from the Star Wars film saga, died Tuesday morning after suffering a heart attack while on a flight from London to Los Angeles the week before. She was 60.

"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 confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter on behalf of Fisher's daughter Lourd on Tuesday. "She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly."

Fisher was a beloved sci-fi icon and author and was honored by many in Hollywood, including family, friends, co-stars and industry colleagues after the heartbreaking news. 

George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars saga, released a statement, saying, "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. 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's mother, actress Debbie Reynolds, posted a statement 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 Carries Mother," she wrote.

Fisher went into cardiac arrest as her 11-hour flight was approaching Los Angeles International Airport shortly after noon on Friday. According to several passengers onboard, the actress received medical attention from airline staff and passengers who attempted to revive her. Paramedics were standing by for the plane’s arrival and the actress was rushed to UCLA Medical Center. After being treated in an intensive care unit over the weekend, Reynolds had tweeted she was stable on Christmas Day.

Star Wars co-star Harrison Ford said in a statement: "Carrie was one-of-a-kind…brilliant, original. 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."

Daisy Ridley, who led the cast of last year's The Force Awakens, released a statement. "Devastated at this monumental loss. How lucky we all are to have known her, and how awful that we have to say goodbye."

Felicity Jones, star of the most recent Star Wars film, Rogue One, said in a statement: "Such devastating news. I never met Carrie but consistently heard how profoundly sharp and witty she was. Her maverick spirit will be missed by us all."

Disney CEO Bob Iger called Fisher "one-of-a-kind" and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy said "it is difficult to think of a world without her" in statements.

“Carrie Fisher was one-of-a-kind, a true character who shared her talent and her truth with us all with her trademark wit and irreverence," said Iger. "Millions fell in love with her as the indomitable Princess Leia; she will always have a special place in the hearts of Star Wars fans as well as all of us who were lucky enough to know her personally. She will be sorely missed, and we join millions of fans and friends around the world who mourn her loss today.”

Added Kennedy: “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.”

Director Steven Spielberg wrote: “I have always stood in awe of Carrie. Her observations always made me laugh and gasp at the same time. She didn't need The Force. She was a force of nature, of loyalty and of friendship. I will miss her very much.”

Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn said in a statement, "My heart goes out to the members of Carrie¹s family, friends, and legions of fans. She was an extraordinary woman, highly intelligent, and just plain funny. She will be missed."

SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said, "Carrie Fisher was an inspiration to people of all ages. She was a talented, witty, thoughtful actor and writer. My heartfelt sympathy goes to her family, friends and all those around the world who loved her and will deeply mourn her loss. She was a beautiful spirit and a light that has dimmed too soon. It is a tremendous loss that is felt by all. What a sad way to end the year."

Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin also shared his saddness in a blog post titled "A Bad Year Gets Worse." 

"There is not much I can say about the death of Carrie Fisher that a thousand other people have not said already," Martin wrote. "She was way too young. A bright, beautiful, talented actress, and a strong, witty, outspoken woman. Princess Leia will live as long as Star Wars does... probably forever..."

Fisher's longtime Star Wars costar Mark Hamill tweeted, "No words #Devastated," along with a photo of the pair in character as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.

He later posted a lengthy tribute on Facebook, saying: "It's never easy to lose such a vital, irreplaceable member of the family, but this is downright heartbreaking. Carrie was one-of-a-kind who belonged to us all- whether she liked it or not. She was OUR Princess, damn it, & the actress who played her blurred into one gorgeous, fiercely independent & ferociously funny, take-charge woman who took our collective breath away. Determined & tough, but with a vulnerability that made you root for her & want her to succeed & be happy. She played such a crucial role in my professional & personal life, & both would have been far emptier without her. I am grateful for the laughter, the wisdom, the kindness & even the bratty, self-indulgent crap my beloved space-twin gave me through the years. Thanks Carrie. I love you, mh."

Paul Simon, who was married to Fisher from 1983 to 1984 and subsequently dated the actress on and off for more than a decade, wrote on Twitter Wednesday: "Yesterday was a horrible day. Carrie was a special, wonderful girl. It's too soon."

A well-known animal lover, Fisher often had her beloved dog Gary with her at public appearances. PETA Senior Manager Andrew Bernstein said in a statement: "We at PETA join the world in mourning the loss of Star Wars legend Carrie Fisher. She may be best remembered for her iconic role as Princess Leia, but we fondly remember her for her devotion to her dog, Gary. An unabashed dog defender and PETA supporter, she called Gary her 'heart' and took him everywhere, including to red carpet events, on her Star Wars: The Force Awakens press tour, and on a recent book-signing tour for her memoir, The Princess Diarist. She was outspoken about helping animals in need: Just this past June, she joined a demonstration outside London's Chinese embassy to call for a ban on the country's annual Yulin dog-eating festival, in which thousands of dogs and cats are bludgeoned or even skinned alive before being butchered for meat. 'These poor dogs need us to fight for them,' she said. 'Every single one of them is as precious as my dear Gary, every one of them is someone's best friend.' Fisher will always be remembered for her phenomenal talent, passion, honesty, love for dogs, and dedication to helping others."

The actress and writer had been in London for a book tour for her memoir, The Princess Diarist, and was also filming the sitcom Catastrophe. Sharon Horgan, who stars on the Amazon series, said Fisher "certainly wasn't ready to go" in an Instagram post that included a photo of the pair on set. "I'm so glad we became pals. I'm so devastated at her loss. I want to write about her more but I can't process yet," she added.

Catastrophe star Rob Delaney, who plays Fisher's son on the series, said he and Horgan wrote more scenes for Fisher in the upcoming third season because she was "so brilliant." In a Wednesday essay for Guardian, he writes: "Carrie was the only cast member Sharon and I would let improvise. (I say 'let'; as if we could stop her. She let us put her in our show.) We’re a bit despotic and inflexible with our dialogue because we’re insane, but Carrie was more insane and would always, always make it funnier and better. In episode one of series two you can hear her singing an improvised song about areolae in the background of our daughter’s christening party."

Describing himself as "a fan first and a fan forever," the actor and comedian wrote about the impact her Blues Brothers role had on him: "I spent my teenage years fantasising about a shiny-lipped Carrie Fisher trying to murder me and my fugitive brother one day … So naturally I tried to seduce Carrie when we finally did work together...I’d like to report that I was successful, but despite my begging her on many occasions, we never had sex, even though our onscreen mother/son chemistry was off the charts." He concluded, "What I’m getting at here is that I revered Carrie until I met her and then I loved her. I’m smiling thinking about her. I hope you are too."

In an essay published in the Guardian Jan. 3, Catastrophe co-star and co-creator Horgan said that she, and other women in the industry owed her a lot. 

"Not many women of her generation called out the double standards of the film industry the way she did. And how it treats women of a certain age," she wrote. "She knew that a man in her position wouldn’t have got the flack that she got. And he didn’t. She knew that she had to keep mouthing off about it. And she did it with great wit. But it hurt her. Make no mistake about that. She was very aware of what people thought and said."

See the reactions that have poured in via social media below.

 

It's never easy to lose such a vital, irreplaceable member of the family, but this is downright heartbreaking. Carrie...

Posted by Mark Hamill on Tuesday, December 27, 2016
 

The Princess stole my heart at age 7. Anybody who knows me knows #CarrieFisher was my first love. I thrilled to the adventures of #princessleia in the @starwars movies, but from '77 to '84, I was in love with Carrie Fisher herself. My bedroom was filled with Carrie Fisher pictures from any movie she was ever in (including Polaroids I took off the TV when #thebluesbrothers hit cable). I was jealous of Paul Simon when he was dating Carrie Fisher and wouldn't listen to his music until they split up. I paid to see Carrie Fisher and #chevychase in Under the Rainbow nine times when it was in theaters (mostly because Carrie Fisher was in underwear in one scene). In childhood, I committed myself to Carrie Fisher without ever meeting her the way novice Nuns commit themselves to Christ without meeting Him. Decades later, I got to tell her this when Carrie Fisher and @jaymewes were in a station wagon on the set of #jayandsilentbobstrikeback. She was gracious about hearing it for the zillionth time from the zillionth man or woman who grew up idolizing her, but wickedly added "I'm glad to know I helped you find your light saber." And with that, she stopped being Carrie Fisher to me and just became Carrie. That's the Carrie I'll always remember: the dutiful standard-bearer of childhood dreams with a the wicked sense of humor and a way with words. She didn't want to get paid for her role in @jayandsilentbob Strike Back; instead, she asked that we buy her these antique beaver chairs. Her reason: "Beaver seems an appropriate currency for this movie." When she was a guest on Season 1 of our @hulu show #Spoilers, Carrie curled up in the throne like she belonged there. And she did: after all, she was royalty. As a boy, I dreamed of marrying Carrie Fisher. As a young filmmaker, I dreamed of casting Carrie Fisher. As an adult, I dreamed of being as sharp-witted and prepossessed as Carrie Fisher. And now that Carrie Fisher is gone, I'll dream of my friend Carrie - whose entire magnificent career I was lucky enough to witness, whose honesty made me a better person, and whose spirit - like The Force - will be with us always. Goodnight, Sweet Princess...

A photo posted by Kevin Smith (@thatkevinsmith) on

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