TMZ — who first broke news that Carrie Fisher had been hospitalized on December 23 following a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles — now reports that the actress/writer/producer/conversation starter has died.
In the last couple of years, Fisher, 60, continued to make a mark as a positive pop cultural force, reprising her role as the immensely iconic Princess Leia in The Force Awakens, interrogating sexism, beauty norms and superficiality, openly discussing living with mental illness and addiction, and releasing The Princess Diarist, a memoir that compiles her journal entries from her time filming Star Wars. She’d been on a tour for that book just before her heart attack on the flight to LAX.
Fisher was rushed to the UCLA Medical Center following the landing, where she’d had CPR administered by an EMT who happened to have been present. She remained in intensive care, with her mother, Debbie Reynolds, saying she was in “stable condition,” though TMZ claims that sources said she’d been non-responsive ever since the heart attack.
Simon Halls, the family spokesperson, gave a statement to People on behalf of Fisher’s daughter: “It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning.”
Lourd herself said, “She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly. Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.”
Beyond acting in a role that (mostly) broke away from traditional damsel-in-distress Hollywood action tropes, and would, as such, become a huge cultural symbol, Fisher was known for her work in the likes of The Blues Brothers, When Harry met Sally, Hannah and Her Sisters, and very recently, her recurring role as Rob’s mother on the acclaimed British comedy, Catastrophe. She’s also a prolific writer, with The Princess Diarist being one of three nonfiction books she’s released, on top of four novels and numerous plays and screenplays. (She was also a highly regarded “script doctor,” whose contributions to many popular films were uncredited but vital.)
The news particularly hit me in seeing that — only minutes after the death had been publicized — her Wikipedia page had been revised into the past tense. For a celebrity who’d remained such an active and appreciated part of the cultural discussion, that verbal shift — of how we talk about Carrie Fisher — was particularly shocking.
For a dose of her humor, bluntness and emotional intelligence, read/listen to this recent Fresh Air interview with Fisher.
Other celebrities who’ve either known her or been influenced by her have taken to Twitter to express their grief, condolences, and appreciation: