Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher has died in hospital, days after suffering a heart attack.
The 60-year-old, who became an international screen star and sex symbol when she appeared as Princess Leia in the 1977 sci-fi epic, was taken ill on a flight from London to Los Angeles on December 23.
In a statement on behalf of Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd, spokesman Simon Halls said: “It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8.55am yesterday.
“She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly. Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.”
Tributes have poured in for the actor, who went on to appear in four Star Wars films including 2015’s seventh film in the franchise, The Force Awakens.
Co-star Mark Hamill, who played her twin brother, Luke Skywalker, in the franchise, led tributes yesterday, simply saying: “No words. Devastated.”
Fisher’s role as Leia Organa was widely praised for breaking new ground for women in adventure and sci-fi films, casting off the stereotype of the damsel in distress to play a complex woman of action and political power.
Several of her costumes have become iconic, including the ‘cinnamon bun’ hairstyle from A New Hope and the metal bikini from Return of the Jedi. She is also expected to appear in Star Wars VIII, filmed this year and scheduled for release in December 2017.
Fisher was also a talented writer, with her semi-autobiographical novel Postcards from the Edge detailing her struggles with mental health issues and drug addiction.
She appeared on Graham Norton’s show at the start of the month to promote her latest memoir, The Princess Diarist.
Norton tweeted: “Numb. Unbelievable that such a bright funny loving spark could be extinguished. @carrieffisher you will be missed. I wish you peace.”
Fisher made headlines recently with a revelation from her book claiming she had an ‘’intense’’ affair with co-star Harrison Ford during the making of Star Wars.
She claimed she had a three-month romance with Ford — a married father of two at the time — which she kept secret for 40 years. She was 19 at the time of the affair in 1976, 14 years younger than Ford, who played Leia’s eventual partner, Han Solo.
She told People: “It was so intense. It was Han and Leia during the week, and Carrie and Harrison during the weekend.”
Yesterday, Ford said: “She lived her life bravely. We will all miss her.”
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