The news, which comes days after she was reported to have suffered a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles, was confirmed in a statement released on behalf of her daughter Billie Lourd.
Lourd’s publicist said: “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.”
Her brother Todd Fisher had earlier told the Associated Press the actor was being treated in an intensive care unit but said that he could not classify her condition.
Carrie Fisher, 60, experienced medical trouble during a flight from London and was treated by paramedics immediately after the plane landed in Los Angeles, according to reports.
Her family have said details around her illness remain unclear. Celebrity website TMZ, which first reported Fisher was unwell, cited anonymous sources claiming the actor suffered a heart attack. Her daughter, however, later told the AP that many details about her condition or what caused the medical emergency remain unknown.
Among the first to react to her death was Mark Hamill, who starred as Luke Skywalker alongside Fisher in the Star Wars films. He tweeted “no words # Devastated” and a photograph of them together in character.
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) December 27, 2016
Fisher, the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and the late singer Eddie Fisher, shot to stardom when the original Star Wars was released in 1977. She revisited the role as the leader of a galactic rebellion in three sequels, including last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
She was also celebrated for her comedic accounts, sometimes semi-fictionalized, of life in the celebrity fishbowl of Hollywood and her personal struggles.
Her screenplay Postcards from the Edge, which dealt candidly with issues of mental health and addiction, was adapted into a 1990 film version starring Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep.
Earlier this year, Fisher was honored by Harvard College, which awarded her its annual outstanding lifetime achievement award in cultural humanism in recognition of her “bravely honest” literary career.
Fisher also transformed her one-woman show Wishful Drinking, which played on Broadway and was filmed for HBO, into a book. She had recently started writing an advice column published in the Guardian.
Her latest book, The Princess Diarist, had been well-received, and made news when she disclosed that she and co-star Harrison Ford had an affair on the set of Star Wars.
Fisher was returning from a book tour in the UK when she taken ill. According to passenger accounts, she fell ill 15 minutes before the plane landed and was given aggressive emergency treatment to stabilize her condition.
Fisher was born in Beverly Hills, California, in 1956, to actor parents who were Hollywood royalty.
When Fisher was two years old, her father, Eddie Fisher, left the family for film star Elizabeth Taylor, the widow of her father’s best friend Mike Todd. The following year, her mother, Debbie Reynolds, married Harry Karl, owner of a shoe-store chain.
Fisher made her film debut in the 1975 comedy Shampoo starring Warren Beatty, Julie Christie and Goldie Hawn. Two years later she was picked to play Princess Leia in George Lucas’s science-fiction film Star Wars alongside Ford.
Other roles followed, but none that came close to matching the attention she received for the sci-fi series.
Fisher’s publicists, agents, friends and family did not immediately respond to requests for comment.