Mark Hamill Remembers 'Star Wars' Co-Star Carrie Fisher In Touching Tribute
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On 27 December 2016, Star Wars fans across the globe felt a disturbance in the Force as news broke that Carrie Fisher had passed away.
Famous for her role as the iconic Princess Leia in George Lucas' epic sci-fi series, Fisher had stopped breathing following a medical emergency on 23 December, on a flight from London to Los Angeles.
She died after four days in intensive care at UCLA Medical Centre, and the announcement saw a series of tributes worldwide as her many fans mourned her passing.
A year on from her death, Star Wars co-star Mark Hamill, who played lightsaber-wielding Jedi Luke Skywalker, has remembered Fisher via a touching post on Twitter:
No one's ever really gone...#AlwaysWithUs #CarrieOnForever pic.twitter.com/zsfuKHRSub
- @HamillHimself (@HamillHimself) December 27, 2017
"No one's ever really gone..." Hamill posted, with the hashtags #AlwaysWIthUs and #CarrieOnForever.
The 66-year-old also posted images of the two actors together, both in the early days of Star Wars and following their reunion for 2015's record-breaking The Force Awakens, alongside an illustration of Fisher flipping the bird.
The daughter of multi-talented stars Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher was born in 1956 and enjoyed a relatively quiet childhood reading books and writing poetry, before making her stage debut alongside her mother on Broadway in 1973's revived musical Irene.
Carrie Fisher in Shampoo. Credit: Columbia Pictures
After studying in London and Yonkers, New York, Fisher made her big-screen debut in the Columbia Pictures comedy Shampoo, two years before picking up the role that would make her a household name: Princess Leia.
According to a 2010 interview with the Short and Sweet NYC blog, Fisher thought Lucas' script for Star Wars was 'fantastic', unlike Harrison Ford, who famously once remarked to the director: "George, you can type this shit, but you can't say it."
"I thought it was a fantastic script," Fisher said, before admitting that no one could have guessed the film's eventual popularity. "I thought I would like it but I didn't think I'd have that many people that would agree with me."
As Princess Leia in 1977's Star Wars. Credit: Lucasfilm
Fisher would appear in many more movies throughout her career - including notable hits like The Blues Brothers and When Harry Met Sally - but it was always her role in Star Wars that provided her greatest success. The 1980s would see her revisit the role for two sequels (The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) and a lesser-spotted TV special, with Leia evolving across the series from a damsell-in-distress character to an all-action military general.
In her personal life, Fisher was a prominent supporter of the LGBT community, women's advocacy and animal rights, winning Harvard College's Annual Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism in 2016.
However, she also struggled with bipolar disorder, alochol and cocaine addiction, all of which she would discuss in extremely frank terms in interviews. "I used to think I was a drug addict, pure and simple - just someone who could not stop taking drugs willfully," she told ABC News in 2000. "And I was that. But it turns out that I am severely manic depressive."
Fisher pictured in November 2016. Credit: PA
Last November, she also wrote an advice column in the Guardian, saying: "We have been given a challenging illness, and there is no other option than to meet those challenges."
Despite her struggles, she remained as engaging and spirited as ever, and fans were delighted to see her return as Leia alongside Hamill, Ford and the rest of the original cast for The Force Awakens.
Fisher passed away after completing her work for this year's Star Wars installment The Last Jedi, with the movie later going on to be dedicated to her memory.
Tragically, her mother, Debbie Reynolds, would also die the following day, after suffering a severe stroke.
Hamill marked his friend's passing on Twitter last year with a simple tweet that read: "no words #devasted". Her co-stars also offered their thoughts and condolences at the time:
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.
- Anthony Daniels (@ADaniels3PO) December 27, 2016
There are no words for this loss. Carrie was the brightest light in every room she entered. I will miss her dearly. pic.twitter.com/GgIeYGeMt9
- Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) December 27, 2016
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!
- Billy Dee Williams (@realbdw) December 27, 2016
Twelve months on, Carrie Fisher remains a much-missed figure across the Star Wars universe and beyond, with her impact felt by her co-stars, her many fans and even her beloved dog, Gary. The Force was strong in this one.