28 Dec 2016

Carrie Fisher dies

8:19 am on 28 December 2016

The Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher has died in hospital following a heart attack.

Carrie Fisher.

Carrie Fisher was best known for Star Wars. Photo: AFP

"It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning," a statement from spokesman Simon Halls read.

"She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly. Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers."

She was 60 years old.

Fisher, who played Princess Leia in Star Wars, was taken ill on a flight from London to LA on Friday.

Passengers attempted to revive her with CPR and she was taken to hospital when the plane landed.

She had been on tour promoting her latest book, The Princess Diarist.

Fisher appeared in the original Star Wars trilogy and only recently in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a sequel released last year.

Princess Leia

Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Photo: AFP

She appeared in many other films, including The Blues Brothers and When Harry Met Sally.

She also wrote four novels and three memoirs, but it was Star Wars that she was known for and which made her one of the most famous faces on the planet.

The fame, however, came with a price and her personal life was dogged by failed relationships, mental health issues, and drug and alcohol abuse.

Born on 21 October, she was the daughter of Academy Award-nominated actress Debbie Reynolds and pop singer Eddie Fisher.

Fisher's parents divorced when she was two, after her father had an affair with one of Reynolds' closest friends, Elizabeth Taylor. Her father and Taylor later married.

Fisher made her big screen debut in the film Shampoo (1975), alongside Goldie Hawn, Warren Beatty and Julie Christie, but it would be another two years until she got her big break in Star Wars.

Fisher's memoir, The Princess Diarist, released this year, revealed for the first time that the then 19-year-old actress had an affair with co-star Harrison Ford, who was then married to Mary Marquardt. The affair ended after three months.

She married singer Paul Simon in 1983. The pair had been in a relationship for five years, but they divorced just a year after tying the knot.

After a battle with drugs and alcohol, she was rushed to hospital in 1985 after accidentally taking an overdose of sleeping pills and prescription drugs.

The episode formed the basis for her first novel, the semi-autobiographical Postcards from the Edge, in which she satirised her own dependence on drugs and the sometimes difficult relationship she had with her mother.

Three years later Fisher adapted it into a screenplay, and it was made into a film starring Meryl Streep, Shirley MacLaine, and Dennis Quaid.

There were two further novels, Surrender the Pink and Delusions of Grandeur.

She had a number of minor roles in various films but she found herself unable to recapture the profile that Star Wars had given her.

Fisher - who had bipolar disorder - also wrote and frequently talked in public about her years of drug addiction and mental illness.

By the turn of the century she had made something of a reputation as a script doctor, revising and polishing screenplays by other writers. Among the films she lists as having worked on were Hook, Sister Act and Lethal Weapon 3.

As well as her marriage to Paul Simon, Fisher also had a three-year relationship with talent agent Bryan Lourd, which resulted in the birth of her daughter, Billie Lourd, who survives her.

- BBC