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Kirstie Alley dies at 71 after cancer battle, family announces

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Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images

Actress Kirstie Alley has died after battling cancer, her family announced Monday night. She was 71 years old.

“We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered,” her children, True and Lillie Parkerannounced in a statement.

“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,” they continued. “As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother.”

“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,” they added. “We thank you for your love and prayers and ask that you respect our privacy at this difficult time.”

Alley, who was born in Wichita, Kansas, to Robert Deal Alley and Lillian Alley, first appeared in the 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, where she played the Vulcan Starfleet officer Lieutenant Saavik.

She starred in several smaller films following that role including One More Chance, Blind Date and Runaway.

Then, in 1987, she joined the cast of the sitcom Cheers, where she replaced Shelley Long and remained with the show until its final season. Her performance earned her an Emmy Award in 1991 for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series. She later earned a second Emmy for her role in the 1994 television drama film David’s Mother.

Alley also appeared in TV shows including Veronica’s Closet, Fat Actress, Kirstie and Scream Queens. She was on season 12 of Dancing with the Stars and had competed on The Masked Singer earlier this year. 

Upon the release of the news of Alley’s death, some in Hollywood began paying tribute to the actress, including her Look Who’s Talking co-star John Travolta, who shared a photo of him and Alley on Instagram.

“Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had,” he wrote. “I love you Kirstie. I know we will see each other again.

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