epaselect (FILE) BRITAIN USA OBIT CARRIE FISHER.jpg
A file picture dated 16 December 2015 shows US actress/cast member Carrie Fisher posing next to a Stormtrooper film character at the European premiere of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' in Leicester square, London, Britain.
Photograph: EPA/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

Actress Carrie Fisher, best known for her portrayal of Princess Leia in the "Star Wars" films, died Tuesday in a Los Angeles hospital, her family said.

With messages of mourning and condolence flooding in from Hollywood and around the world, Fisher's mother, film legend Debbie Reynolds, thanked "everyone who has embraced the gifts and talents of my beloved and amazing daughter," in a Facebook message.

"I am grateful for your thoughts and prayers that are now guiding her to her next stop."

A family statement said that Fisher died at 8:55 am (1655 GMT).

Fisher was on a flight Friday from London to Los Angeles when she suffered a reported heart attack shortly before landing. Emergency medical personnel met the plane at LAX after the 11-hour flight.

Fisher starred as Princess Leia in the original "Star Wars" trilogy (1977-1983), and reprised the role in 2015's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

"Star Wars" creator George Lucas mourned her as "our great and powerful princess - feisty, wise and full of hope in a role that was more difficult than most people might think."

He described Fisher as a smart, life-long friend and "talented actress, writer and comedienne with a very colorful personality that everyone loved."

Her "Star Wars" co-star Mark Hamill had tweeted a photo on Sunday of Fisher in her most famous role, with the message "Dear Santa: All I want for X-Mas is the force to be strong with Carrie." On Tuesday he wrote "no words. #Devastated."

Billy Dee Williams, Fisher's Star Wars co-star from "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi," tweeted that he was "deeply saddened" by her death.

"She was a dear friend, whom I greatly respected and admired," he said. "The force is dark today!"

Fisher had supporting roles in films including "The Blues Brothers" (1980), "When Harry met Sally" (1989) and "Soapdish" (1991). She appeared on numerous television shows including "Saturday Night Live," "The Big Bang Theory" and "30 Rock."

She was briefly married to pop singer Paul Simon in 1983-84.

Fisher had a daughter, actress Billie Lourd, with talent agent Bryan Lourd.

Harrison Ford, with whom Fisher portrayed a fiery on-screen romance in "Star Wars," remembered her as "brilliant, original ... funny and emotionally fearless. She lived her life, bravely," in a statement published by Variety.

Off-screen, they shared an on-set romance, which Fisher revealed in her memoir "The Princess Diarist" published last month.

Fisher was born in Beverly Hills, California, into Hollywood royalty, as the daughter of the Oscar-nominated Debbie Reynolds and 1950s pop singer Eddie Fisher.

Fisher's writing credits include the 1987 novel "Postcards from the Edge," drawing on her own struggles with Hollywood, substance abuse and mental illness. The story became a movie in 1990 starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine, for which Fisher adapted the screenplay.

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