Hollywood superstar Harrison Ford has led tributes to Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher, who has died at the age of 60.
Ford, who appeared as Han Solo opposite Fisher’s Princess Leia in four Star Wars movies, hailed his co-star, saying: “We will all miss her.”
The Indiana Jones actor, 74, said in a statement: “Carrie was one-of-a-kind ... brilliant, original. Funny and emotionally fearless. She lived her life, bravely.”
Fisher, who became an international screen star and sex symbol when she appeared in the first Star Wars blockbuster in 1977, died in California on Tuesday morning, a family spokesman said.
She had been in hospital since suffering a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles on December 23.
In a statement released on behalf of Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd, spokesman Simon Halls said: “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 captured the hearts of a generation of young men as the blaster-toting, bikini-wearing princess and tough resistance leader in the three original Star Wars films.
Her character had a simmering romance with Ford’s Solo throughout the films - 1977’s A New Hope, 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back and 1983’s Return Of The Jedi - and was revealed to be the twin sister of the main character Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill.
Hamill tweeted a picture of himself with Fisher from the set alongside the caption: “No words #Devastated.”
Filmmaker George Lucas, who created the Star Wars franchise, said: “Carrie and I have been friends most of our adult lives. She was extremely smart; a talented actress, writer and comedienne with a very colourful personality that everyone loved.
“In Star Wars she was our great and powerful princess - feisty, wise and full of hope in a role that was more difficult than most people might think.”
Off screen, Fisher battled with drink, drugs and mental illness.
In 1987 she published her semi-autobiographical novel Postcards From The Edge about a recovering drug addict film star. It became a bestseller and was turned into a 1990 film starring an Oscar-nominated Meryl Streep, Shirley MacLaine and Dennis Quaid.
She wrote and performed in an autobiographical one-woman show, Wishful Drinking, which went to Broadway and was turned into a book.
There were more books, including this year’s autobiography The Princess Diarist in which she revealed she had an “intense” affair with Ford during the making of Star Wars.
She claimed she had a three-month romance with Ford - a married father-of-two at the time - which she kept secret for 40 years.
She told People magazine: ‘’It was so intense. It was Han and Leia during the week, and Carrie and Harrison during the weekend.’’
Fisher was 19 at the time of the alleged affair in 1976, 14 years younger than 33-year-old Ford.
The actress was born in Beverly Hills, California, to actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, who also found fame hosting his own television show.
On Facebook, Reynolds said: “Thank you to everyone who has embraced the gifts and talents of my beloved and amazing daughter. I am grateful for your thoughts and prayers that are now guiding her to her next stop. Love Carrie’s Mother.”
Fisher made her acting debut in 1975 in Shampoo, starring alongside household names such as Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn.
Hawn tweeted: “Carrie Fisher has left us. I am devastated. My condolences and love to the family. My darling brilliant girl RIP.”
Anthony Daniels, who played the android C3PO on Star Wars, said: “I thought I had got what I wanted under the tree. I didn’t. In spite of so many thoughts and prayers from so many. I am very, very sad.”
Billy Dee Williams, who played buccaneer turned resistance general Lando Calrissian alongside Fisher in The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi, said: “I’m deeply saddened at the news of Carrie’s passing. She was a dear friend, whom I greatly respected and admired. The force is dark today!”
Peter Mayhew, who was the wookiee Chewbacca in the Star Wars films, paid tribute to Fisher, saying: “There are no words for this loss. Carrie was the brightest light in every room she entered. I will miss her dearly.”
Warwick Davis, who played an ewok in Return Of The Jedi, said: “Princess Leia, @CarrieFisher - now one with the Force. Your kindness & sharp wit will be missed. #RIP PS: Thanks for the milk & cookies. xx.”
David Prowse, who portrayed Darth Vader on screen, with the voice provided by James Earl Jones, added: “I am extremely sad to learn of Carrie’s passing. She was wonderful to work with. Condolences to her friends, family & fans around the world.”
Fisher had been filming in London for the third series of Channel 4’s Catastrophe, starring co-writers Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney.
Horgan said: “She was the most generous, fun, gifted, smart, kind, funny funny funny person I’ve ever met. She certainly wasn’t ready to go. I’m so glad we became pals. I’m so devastated at her loss.”
Fisher reprised her role alongside Ford in 2015’s seventh film in the franchise, The Force Awakens, where her character had matured into a seasoned and respected resistance general who shared a son with Solo.
English actress Daisy Ridley, who played Rey in The Force Awakens, said she was “devastated at this monumental loss”, adding: “How lucky we all are to have known her, and how awful that we have to say goodbye.”
She had been due to appear in Star Wars VIII, which is scheduled for release in December 2017.