Noted American actress, writer, producer and advocate for mental health awareness, Carrie Fisher died on Tuesday December 27 after suffering a heart attack just four days prior.
Simon Halls, a spokesman for the Fisher family, released a statement to People Magazine on behalf of Billie Lourd, 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,” the statement reads.
“She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly,” says Lourd, 24. “Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.”
The daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, a son of Russian-born Jewish immigrants, Carrie was raised Protestant but often attended Jewish services with her Orthodox friends. Fisher was briefly married to legendary musician, singer-songwriter and actor Paul Simon, a son of Hungarian Jewish parents.
Best known for her career-defining portrayal of Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise, Fisher grew up in the world of Hollywood motion pictures, television and theater. In addition to her iconic role in the science-fiction flick, Fisher starred in such noted films as When Harry Met Sally, The Blues Brothers, and The Man with One Red Shoe. She additionally assisted in crafting the scripts for numerous Hollywood hit films, such as The Wedding Singer, Hook and Sister Act, though her contributions went unaccredited.
The beloved actress struggled with substance abuse for most of her life, starting when she was only 13 years old when she began smoking marijuana. She said she later dabbled in other drugs, such as cocaine and LSD. In her bestselling semi-autobiographical novel, Postcards from the Edge, Fisher addressed her addictions.
In 1985, Fisher was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a psychiatric illness marked with interchanging periods of depression and elevated mood. After her diagnosis, the actress became an outspoken advocate for mental health awareness. In early 2016, Harvard College presented Fisher with its noted Annual Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism, noting that “her forthright activism and outspokenness about addiction, mental illness, and agnosticism have advanced public discourse on these issues with creativity and empathy.”
On Friday, December 23, Fisher was on an inbound flight from London to Los Angeles when she reportedly went into cardiac arrest approximately 15 minutes before landing. A fellow passenger performed CPR on Fisher until paramedics arrived, at which point she was rushed to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center by ambulance. On December 27, she suffered a heart attack that has been reported as the final cause of death.
Fisher is survived by her daughter Billie Lourd, her mother Debbie Reynolds, her brother Todd Fisher and her half-sisters Joely Fisher and Tricia Leigh Fisher.