"I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened." - Obi-Wan Kenobi, "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope"
Unless you've been living under a Death Star-sized rock the past 14+ hours, you've probably already been informed by now, courtesy of numerous outlets and some hundred or so grief-stricken friends online, of the devastating news: 60-year-old #CarrieFisher, the beautiful rebel princess from Alderaan that has captured our hearts and geeky minds for at least three generations, had just died.
Following a massive heart attack on a United Airlines flight from London to LA last Friday, December 23rd, Fisher, known for her books and for playing #PrincessLeia Organa in the Star Wars films, was rushed by the Los Angeles Fire Department to UCLA Medical Center after being "aggressively treated" with CPR and advanced life support by flight crew and "doctor and nurse passengers" inside the plane and later by paramedics waiting at the airport.
By Friday afternoon, the actress's brother Todd announced that she was "out of the emergency room," but gave no further details, which prompted, over the next few hours, numerous conflicting statements about Fisher's actual medical situation. By Saturday, he announced that Fisher had been moved to the ICU, where she was then undergoing continuous treatment.
Three days later, Fisher's daughter, actress Billie Lourd, finally confirmed the heartbreaking news: her mother had passed around 8:55 the morning of December 27, 2016, just a few days shy of New Year's Eve. (See the obituary here.)
The statement from Lourd's publicist is as follows:
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.
Many hours later, Hamill took to his official Facebook page to post a heart-rending eulogy about the late Fisher (later reposted to his Twitter in photo format):
A little while after, #HarrisonFord, Fisher's other Star Wars co-star who played her love interest #HanSolo both onscreen AND off-screen (albeit very briefly for the latter), also released an official statement:
Carrie was one-of-a-kind… brilliant, original. Funny and emotionally fearless. She lived her life, bravely. My thoughts are with her daughter Billie, her mother Debbie, her brother Todd, and her many friends. We will all miss her.
Last year (eerily around this time too) we lost Han Solo in The Force Awakens, and we all took to social media to express our grief, but no amount of mourning over Harrison Ford's character can compare to the heartache we now feel over the loss of both Princess Leia AND Carrie Fisher, two iconic, amazing and sardonically witty individuals without whom geek culture worldwide just wouldn't be the same. Both women have been integral parts of our childhood and young adulthood (depending on how old we were when we first saw the original trilogy) and will be missed greatly.
As of this writing, #Disney has yet to release an official statement on the "Star Wars-sized dilemma" over the fate of Fisher's character in future Star Wars films following Episode VIII. (She was already able to film all her scenes as Leia Organa for the next Star Wars movie before her tragic passing.)
Episode VIII is currently in post-production.
Fisher was traveling in the UK on her book tour when she suffered a severe cardiac arrest on her way home, just as her flight was approaching Los Angeles International Airport. YouTube star Anna Akana and actor-comedian Brad Gage, who sat in front of Fisher in the plane, watched as the actress "stopped breathing" for "10 minutes," while crew and passengers desperately tried to revive her.
The Star Wars actress is survived by her mother Debbie, daughter Billie Lourd from her marriage to Bryan Lourd, brother Todd Fisher, half-sisters Joely and Tricia Leigh Fisher, and Gary, her French Bulldog.