HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Emmy-nominated actress Carrie Fisher, best known for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise, died Tuesday morning. Fisher passed away just days after her heart stopped on a transatlantic flight, landing her in the hospital. Her daughter confirmed the news through her publicist saying, “She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly."
Throughout the day, stars and fans were expressing their sadness over her death. A memorial of candles and flowers for Fisher is growing in front of a life-sized Yoda statue at Lucasfilms in San Francisco.
Mark Hamill, who played opposite Fisher as Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy, says he has no words for the actress's loss. A lot of people share his sentiment.
Billy Dee Williams, who portrayed enterprising scoundrel Lando Calrisian in episodes five and six, says “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, Chewbacca, says Fisher was the brightest light in every room she entered, and he will miss her dearly.
Anthony Daniels, who played C3PO, says “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."
Closer to home, no shortage of sadness over Fisher's death here in the Tennessee Valley. She represented a lot of different things to different people.
As they lined up for Rogue One at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center Tuesday afternoon, the loss of Carrie Fisher was fresh on everyone's mind.
“Star Wars-wise, it kinda hits me hard because it's like she was such a big character when it came to Star Wars and its franchise,” says Jared Gibson, a 14-year old fan visiting Huntsville from Atlanta.
Travis Yates and his family were passing through Huntsville on their way to Florida. ”It's a sad day, not only for Star Wars fans but I think cinema fans. Carrie Fisher represented a lot not only to the Star Wars canon but also, really, she broke the mold of what a female character can be in cinema. You know, talking about the late 70's and the typical damsel in distress you're used to seeing and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia definitely broke that mold and became a hero."
And maybe that's at least part of the endearing and enduring attraction. It's been said anyone could have played the part, but Fisher owned it. She was Princess Leia.
Carson Cooper went to the IMAX Tuesday with a couple of relatives. “You know, in the original series, there is no Luke without Leia. It's kinda sad, gotta come here with the family today and watch it. May she rest in peace."
For die-hard fans, there may still be a final chance to see Fisher as Princess Leia. Star Wars: Episode 8 has finished shooting and is currently in post production.
“It was really nice to see this resurgence with The Force Awakens and the reboot of the franchise, and it's very sad to see in the midst of this resurgence for Star Wars to see her with this untimely demise,” Yates told us.
Jared Gibson reflected a moment, and said, “I’m kinda sad because another person's gone, but at least she's in a better place."
Star Wars, Episode 8 is scheduled for release in late 2017.