Kirstie Alley has died aged 71 after a “recently diagnosed” cancer diagnosis, her family has confirmed.
The Cheers star’s death was announced on Tuesday, December 6 in a statement from her children, William True and Lillie Price Parker, who wrote: “To all our friends, far and wide around the world… We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered.”
They continued: “She was surrounded by her closest family and fought with great strength, leaving us with a certainty of her never-ending joy of living and whatever adventures lie ahead. As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother.
They added their thanks to the doctors and nurses who helped their mother during her cancer battle, and concluded with a tribute to her legacy.
“Our mother’s zest and passion for life, her children, grandchildren and her many animals, not to mention her eternal joy of creating, were unparalleled and leave us inspired to live life to the fullest just as she did. We thank you for your love and prayers and ask that you respect our privacy at this difficult time.”
Alley’s career in Hollywood began in the early 1980s when she scored a role in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. By the time she joined the cast of Cheers in 1987 she was well on the way to becoming an established TV star.
She later won two Emmy Awards for her work on Cheers and later, the TV film David’s Mother, and in 1997 Alley scored the title role in popular sitcom, Veronica’s Closet.
In recent years, Alley dabbled in reality TV including two stints on the US version of Dancing With The Stars, as well as an appearance on The Masked Singer.
She has also been vocal about body image over the years after becoming a Jenny Craig ambassador. She cut ties with the company in 2007, later revealing that she had struggled with rapid weight gain in the wake of her departure. She resigned with the company as an official spokesperson in 2014.
Alley had two marriages, the first to her high school sweetheart Bob Alley in 1970. They divorced in 1977 and in 1983, she married fellow actor Parker Stevenson. The couple adopted their two children, William True and Lillie Price before splitting in 1997. In 2016, their eldest son welcomed a baby boy, making Alley a proud grandmother.
Her death is undoubtedly a shock particularly to fans who grew up with the iconic actor on their screens—it goes without saying her legacy on sitcom television is irreplaceable. Vale.