Carrie Fisher dies at age 60

Iconic actress Carrie Fisher has died following a heart attack she suffered on a plane trip from London to Los Angeles last week. Fisher's daughter, Billie Lourd, announced her passing to People Magazine earlier today. An accomplished actress, writer, and advocate, Fisher was just 60 years old.

"It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning," reads the statement delivered to People Magazine. "She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly. Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers."

Fisher got her start in Hollywood in the 1975 film Shampoo, performing the role of Lorna Karpf. It was just two years later, in 1977, that the then 20-year-old Fisher starred in the role that made her a household name: Princess Leia in Star Wars. Fisher would go onto reprise the role of Leia in three other Star Wars movies, 1980's The Empire Strikes Back, 1983's The Return of the Jedi, and 2015's The Force Awakens.

Like her Star Wars co-stars Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford, Fisher remained active in Hollywood after the original Star Wars trilogy wrapped up. 1987 saw the release of her first novel, the semi-autobiographical Postcards from the Edge, marking the first step in another branch of her already noteworthy career.

Fisher would pen eight books throughout the rest of her life – five fiction and three non-fiction. Her final book was The Princess Diarist, a memoir based on the diaries she kept while working on Star Wars in 1977 and released just last month. On top of those, Fisher wrote four screenplays and three plays, performing in her one-woman show Wishful Drinking at the Geffen Theater in Los Angeles in 2006.

Her work in Hollywood expanded to behind-the-scenes roles as well. According to The Mary Sue, she was one of the most sought after Script Doctors – usually uncredited writers who add a layer of polish to existing screenplays – in the 1990s, working on movies such as Hook, The Wedding Singer, and Sister Act. Throughout the decades, her ability as a writer became nearly as renowned as her acting career.

Fisher also led a visible public life outside of her creative endeavors, speaking openly about her struggles with drug addiction and being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She became a stalwart ally and advocate for those struggling with mental illness, and in 2016, she was awarded Harvard College's Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism for her advocacy efforts.

Despite her struggles and her immense fame, Fisher was also known for keeping things light with a sharp sense of humor. That much is evidenced in her 2008 book Wishful Drinking. Prompted by a conversation with George Lucas on the set of Star Wars, Fisher wrote about her eventual death and commented that no matter how she went, she wanted her obituary to read that she "drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra."

She is survived by her mother, Debbie Reynolds, daughter Lourd, brother Todd Fisher, half-sisters Joely Fisher and Tricia Leigh Fisher, and her French bulldog, Gary.

SOURCE: People Magazine