A family spokesman confirmed the news on behalf of Fisher's daughter, Billie Lourd, in a statement on Tuesday (December 27): "It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning. She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly. Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers."
Fisher suffered a heart attack while on a United Airlines flight from London to Los Angeles on Friday (December 23) and was rushed to UCLA Medical Center, where she later died.
The major cardiac episode was first reported by TMZ — which described the actress as "unresponsive" at the time the plane landed — and confirmed by multiple outlets, including NBC News and the Los Angeles Times. According to one witness on the flight, the actress was unresponsive while the crew administered CPR.
Fisher had been promoting her biting memoir, The Princess Diarist, in London. The outspoken, Emmy-nominated actress, writer, and producer was known for her sharp wit and equally sharp tongue. But it's her role as Princess Leia in George Lucas's Star Wars trilogy that forever endeared her to millions of fans. Leia was the fearless heart of the Resistance, the shrewd princess who faced Darth Vader and lived to tell the tale. Most importantly, she was the princess who didn't need to be saved; she could handle a blaster just fine all by herself.
The Star Wars actress recently upped her rank from Princess to General Leia in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and was reported to have a significant role in the future of the franchise. Her likeness also appeared during the heart-pounding final minutes of Gareth Edwards's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, proving just how vital Leia was to the Resistance — and to the celebrated franchise.