Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds has died aged 84, just one day after the death of her daughter, famed actor and author Carrie Fisher.
Her death was confirmed by her son, Todd Fisher.
“The last thing she said this morning was that she was very, very sad about losing Carrie and that she would like to be with her again,” Fisher said. “Fifteen minutes later she suffered a severe stroke.”
Reynolds died just hours after she was taken to Cedars Sinai medical center from her son’s house in Beverly Hills on Wednesday afternoon.
“The only thing we’re taking solace in is that what she wanted to do was take care of her daughter, which is what she did best,” he added.
On Friday, Carrie Fisher reportedly suffered a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles. Reynolds posted on her Facebook page on Christmas Day that Fisher was in a stable condition.
Carrie Fisher died two days later.
On Tuesday, Reynolds addressed Fisher’s death on Facebook, writing: “Thank you to everyone who has embraced the gifts and talents of my beloved and amazing daughter. I am grateful for your thoughts and prayers that are now guiding her to her next stop. Love Carries Mother.”
After news of Reynolds’ own death broke on Wednesday, Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, posted a picture on Facebook of herself with her late mother and grandmother at the 2015 Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Further tributes came from Joely Fisher, a daughter of Reynolds’ ex-husband Eddie Fisher, and Carrie Fisher’s half-sister, who tweeted a picture of herself and Reynolds with the words “God speed mama”.
“So heartsick. Debbie went to be with Carrie. It’s such a devastating 1, 2 punch,” tweeted Debra Messing. Reynolds played Messing’s mother on the sitcom Will & Grace. “She was my ‘mom’ for years & I loved her dearly. A legend.”
Messing’s co-star Eric McCormack, who played Will, tweeted a short time later: “The combination of the loss of Carrie Fisher & then her mom Debbie Reynolds is too much. I’m really at a loss here.”
Albert Brooks, who directed and co-starred with Reynolds in 1996’s Mother, was another of the star’s “children” who paid tribute on Wednesday.
Hollywood veteran Carl Reiner, who acted alongside Reynolds in the 1959 comedy The Gazebo, and later directed Carrie Fisher in the 1990 comedy Sibling Rivalry, tweeted: “How shocked we were to learn that Debbie Reynolds passed away just a day after her daughter Carrie. I loved & worked [with] both of these icons.”
Carol Channing, who performed with Reynolds on stage, told the Press Association: “She was beautiful and generous. It seems like only yesterday she was having lunch here at the house and we were discussing the possibility of working together in a new show.”
Actor Rip Taylor, who had also performed with Reynolds in Las Vegas, said: “I was blessed to work with this remarkable woman for 45, almost 50 years. That makes for a very rare bond and unique relationship. She was generous to a fault, never caring who got the laugh from the audience. I will always love her.”
In 2011, Reynolds and Fisher appeared together for an extensive interview on the Oprah Winfrey show. During the interview, mother and daughter spoke about their admiration for each other.
Fisher said: “I believe my mother knows now but if she doesn’t, it would be good if she did: that I take her advice, that I follow her example, that I respect who she is … and if I’m like her in any way then I’m happy that I am.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Winfrey tweeted a photo from the interview, saying: “Remembering the good times with Carrie and her mother.”
Fellow chatshow host Ellen DeGeneres added her tribute, expressing concern for the relatives of both women.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was among the organisations paying tribute on social media, tweeting: “An actress, a trailblazer and hero, rest in peace Debbie Reynolds.”
Actor and singer Bette Midler also hailed Reynolds on Twitter, saying she was “beautiful, talented, devoted to her craft”.
Reynolds began her rise to stardom at 16, when she caught the eye of Warner Bros during a beauty pageant, but her first breakout role was co-starring with Gene Kelly in Singin’ in the Rain. She was nominated for an Academy Award for her work in 1964’s The Unsinkable Molly Brown.
Reynolds had her two children, Carrie and Todd, with her first husband, singer Eddie Fisher. The couple divorced after Fisher had an affair with Elizabeth Taylor. She married and divorced twice more.
Carrie Fisher memorialized her tumultuous relationship with Reynolds in her semi-autobiographical novel, Postcards From the Edge. Reynolds wanted to play the role of the mother in the film adaptation of the book, but director Mike Nichols cast Shirley MacLaine instead.
Fisher spoke about her mother’s declining health in May, telling People magazine that the star had been “a little more frail” during the filming of their documentary Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.
Todd Fisher told ABC News in June that Reynolds had suffered a “small stroke” while in the hospital recovering from an operation.
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