Carrie Fisher, the actress who played Princess Leia Organa in Star Wars, has died on 27 December at the age of 60. She had suffered a heart attack in the preceding days.

Family spokesman Simon Halls released a statement on behalf of Fisher's daughter, Billie Lourd: "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."

The actress suffered a heart attack when she was flying from London to Los Angeles on Friday, 23 December. Paramedics removed her from the flight and rushed her to UCLA Medical Centre. She later died in the hospital.

Fisher had been on a publicity tour for her new book, The Princess Diarist. The book hit the headlines after it revealed that she had an affair with co-star Harrison Ford while shooting the original Star Wars movies.

Fisher made her film debut with 1975 hit Shampoo, starring opposite Warren Beatty. She also starred in an array of successful movies, including Austin Powers, The Blues Brothers, Charlie's Angels, Hannah and her Sisters, Scream 3, and When Harry Met Sally. Fisher will be best remembered for her role as Princess Leia in 1977's Star Wars. She reprised the role in 2015's The Force Awakens.

Fisher was a prolific author, not shying away from detailing her drug addictions and struggles with mental illness. She was first diagnosed as bipolar at age 24, and underwent electroconvulsive therapy along with medication treatment.

Her best-selling 1987 autobiography Postcards from the Edge became the basis for the 1990 film of the same name starring Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep. Her books included Delusions of Grandma, Surrender the Pink, The Best Awful, and Shockaholic. Fisher's one-woman stage show and autobiography, Wishful Drinking, became a hit HBO production in 2010.

Carrie Fisher is veritable Hollywood royalty, the daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher. She is survived by her daughter Billie Lourd, brother Todd Fisher, and mother Debbie Reynolds.