Cheers and Celebrity Big Brother star Kirstie Alley dies of cancer aged 71

American actress Kirstie Alley has died of cancer at the age of 71, according to her family.

A statement posted on social media via her official accounts described her as an “incredible, fierce and loving mother”.

Alley was surrounded by her closest family members, according to the statement.

She was best known for her breakout role as Rebecca Howe on the NBC sitcom Cheers from 1987 to 1993, and received both an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe for the role in 1991.

In 2018, she took part in the 22nd series of UK Celebrity Big Brother, in which she finished second.

“As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more incredible mother and grandmother,” the statement read.

“To all our friends, all over the world… We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a recently discovered battle with cancer,” the statement read.

“She was surrounded by her closest family and fought with great strength, leaving us with a certainty of her endless zest for life and whatever adventures were to come.

The family statement went on to thank the “incredible” team of doctors and nurses at Moffitt Cancer Center, Florida, for their care.

“Our mother’s joy and passion for life, her children, her grandchildren and her many animals, not to mention her undying joy in creating, was unparalleled and leaves us inspired to live life to the full as she did. did,” he continued.

“We thank you for your love and prayers and ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.”

In 2018, Alley was a finalist on the 22nd series of UK Celebrity Big Brother (Ian West/PA)

In addition to her starring role in Cheers, Alley appeared in various films during the 1980s and 1990s.

These included the 1989 romantic comedy film Look Who’s Talking, in which she starred opposite John Travolta.

The couple reprized their roles for the two film sequels Look Who’s Talking Too (1990) and Look Who’s Talking Now (1993),

In an online tribute, Travolta said his time with Alley was “one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had.”

Sharing a photo of the couple together on Instagram, Travolta wrote, “Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had.

“I love you Kirstie. I know we will meet again.”

Alley’s other film roles included Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Summer School (1987) Sibling Rivalry (1990), It Takes Two (1995), For Richer or Poorer (1997), and Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999) .

She won her second Emmy Award in 1994 for the TV movie David’s Mother and received another Emmy nomination in 1997 for her work in the crime drama series The Last Don.

She earned further Emmy and Golden Globe nominations as the titular star of Veronica’s Closet, which ran from 1997 to 2000, and played a fictionalized version of herself on Fat Actress in 2005. .

She also made several reality TV appearances, first as a contestant on the 12th season of Dancing with the Stars, where she finished in second place.

During her time on Big Brother, she shared the house with other famous faces, including Coronation Street star Ryan Thomas and The Only Way Is Essex’s Dan Osbourne, who finished in first and third place respectively.

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