Actress Carrie Fisher passed away today at age 60. She had been hospitalized after having a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles last week. Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd issued a statement through here publicist saying, “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 became an international star at the age of 19 when she appeared in Star Wars as Princess Leia. From the NY Times:

She was one of roughly two dozen young actresses considered for the role of Princess Leia in Mr. Lucas’s marathon casting sessions for “Star Wars.” (Cindy Williams, Amy Irving, Sissy Spacek and Jodie Foster were among those who also read for the part.)

Many of Ms. Fisher’s line readings from that film have since become part of the cinematic canon: her repeated, almost hypnotic exhortation, “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope”; her wryly unimpressed reaction when Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) arrives in disguise to rescue her from a detention cell: “Aren’t you a little short for a storm trooper?”

“Star Wars” became a financial and cultural phenomenon, launching more movies and a merchandising machine that splashed Ms. Fisher’s likeness on all manner of action figures and products while casting her into an uneasy limelight.

She partied with the Rolling Stones during the making of “The Empire Strikes Back,” hosted “Saturday Night Live” and had romantic relationships with Dan Aykroyd (with whom she appeared in “The Blues Brothers”) and Paul Simon. She and Mr. Simon had a marriage that lasted less than a year, and he was inspired to write his song “Hearts and Bones” about their time together.

Fisher struggled with addiction and bipolar disorder throughout her life. She wrote about her struggles in several books including one published recently in which she revealed for the first time that she had been in a relationship with Harrison Ford during the filming of the first Star Wars movie.

Fisher had a successful second career as a script doctor in the 1990s. She worked on several well-known films including, “Hook, Sister Act, The River Wild, The Wedding Singer, Coyote Ugly, Scream 3 (in which she also has a cameo), Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and the Star Wars prequels.”

Her friends and co-stars have been reacting to the news on Twitter:

Comedian Steve Martin summed it up for a lot of guys who were 10-16 when the Star Wars films came out:

I  got to meet Fisher once at Comic-Con in San Diego. My impression at the time was that she found the whole thing a bit ridiculous, even awkward, but she was there to give fans what they wanted anyway. ABC News put together this remembrance clip: