LOS ANGELES – Kirstie Alley, the two-time Emmy-winning actress who rose to fame as Rebecca Howe in the hit television series Cheers (1982 to 1993), died on Monday after a short battle with cancer, her representative told Reuters. She was 71.
Her death was also confirmed through a statement from her children released on her official Twitter account, who said Alley died after treatment at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida.
“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,” the statement by her children, Lillie Price Stevenson and William True Stevenson, said.
“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 onscreen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother.”
Alley’s breakout role came as Howe in the NBC sitcom Cheers, which she starred in from 1987 until 1993, and for which she received an Emmy and a Golden Globe in 1991.
She won her second Emmy in 1994 for the television film David’s Mother.
Alley also appeared in many films during the 1980s and 1990s, including Look Who’s Talking (1989), It Takes Two (1995), Deconstructing Henry (1997) and Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999).
Tributes have flowed in from her former co-stars, such as John Travolta, 68, who starred opposite her in Look Who’s Talking and its two sequels (1990 and 1993).
“(My relationship with) Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had,” Travolta said on Instagram alongside a photo of the actress in a white dress. “I love you Kirstie. I know we will see each other again.”
The cast of Cheers also paid tribute to her.
Actor Ted Danson, 74, said in a statement to People magazine that he was on a plane and had watched an old episode of Cheers in which Tom Berenger’s character proposes to Alley’s. He found out about her death only when he landed.
“She made me laugh 30 years ago when she shot that scene, and she made me laugh today just as hard,” he said. “As I got off the plane, I heard that Kirstie had died. I am so sad and so grateful for all the times she made me laugh.”
Fellow Cheers actor and Frasier (1993 to 2004) actor Kelsey Grammer, 67, said in a statement to People: “I always believed grief for a public figure is a private matter, but I will say I loved her.” REUTERS