Star Wars icon Carrie Fisher dies aged 60

Ben Skipper

Carrie Fisher, best known for playing Princess Leia Organa in the ‘Star Wars’ saga, has died at the age of 60 following a cardiac arrest suffered on a plane travelling from London to Los Angeles.

A family spokesman released a statement on behalf of Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd, which said: “It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 (PDT) this morning.

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

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Following her heart attack on Friday 23 December, Fisher was rushed to hospital where she remained in a critical condition over Christmas. Fisher’s mother Debbie Reynolds revealed on Boxing Day that she was then in a stable condition.

The daughter of Hollywood stars Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, Carrie made her name in George Lucas’s 1977 blockbuster hit ‘Star Wars’. She starred in the film’s two immediate sequels and reprised her iconic role in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ in 2015.

Fisher has already completed filming on ‘Star Wars: Episode 8’ with director Rian Johnson, which will be released in December 2017. It will be her final film. The actress also starred in ‘The Blues Brothers’, ‘The ‘Burbs’ and ‘When Harry Met Sally’.

Since her return to stardom thanks to ‘The Force Awakens’ her natural charisma, fantastic sense of humour and razor-sharp wit have been in fine form on talk shows around the world and in her memoirs. She released her last memoir ‘The Princess Diarist’ in November 2016.

It was during her most recent press tours that her beloved dog Gary also became a star.

Of course, Carrie Fisher will be remembered most fondly for playing Princess Leia, the target of ‘A New Hope’s rescue mission who defied every convention regarding “damsels in distress”. Strong, able and regal to the end, Leia is every bit as iconic as lightsabers, Darth Vader or any other aspect of the ‘Star Wars’ series.

Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in 'A New Hope'. (Credit: LucasFilm)
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in ‘A New Hope’. (Credit: LucasFilm)

Fisher was also an activist and spokesperson for mental health awareness and charities, from the time she revealed that she suffered from bi-polar disorder.

In 2000 she told ABC: “I outlasted my problems. I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on. Better me than you.”

In 2016, she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement in Cultural Humanism from the Harvard Humanist Hub. The organisation said: “Ms. Fisher’s work humanises a popular culture obsessed with celebrity, and helps readers laugh at the absurdity of contemporary society and relationships. Her forthright activism and outspokenness about addiction, mental illness and agnosticism have advanced public discourse on these issues with creativity and empathy.”