Cheers star Kirstie Alley dies aged 71 after short illness

6 December 2022, 08:46

Kirstie Alley starred in Cheers as Rebecca
Kirstie Alley starred in Cheers as Rebecca. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Kirstie Alley has died of cancer at the age of 71, her family has confirmed.

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"We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away, " her children wrote.

Kirstie Alley won an Emmy award for her role as bar manager Rebecca on the classic US TV sitcom Cheers.

She also appeared in the films Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Drop Dead Gorgeous, and the Look Who's Talking series alongside John Travolta.

Her family confirmed that her cancer was "only recently discovered".

Kirstie Alley and Ted Danson in Cheers
Kirstie Alley and Ted Danson in Cheers. Picture: Getty

"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," they said.

"As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother."

They also praised Alley's "zest and passion for life, her children, grandchildren and her many animals, not to mention her eternal joy of creating".

John Travolta paid tribute to Alley on Instagram, saying: "Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I've ever had. I love you Kirstie," he wrote alongside a photo of her.

"I know we will see each other again."

Kirstie Alley joined Cheers as a replacement for Shelley Long, and quickly sparked up a romance with Ted Danson's Sam.

She appeared in 147 episodes, and continued in the show until its finale in 1993.

In 1993, she also won a second Emmy for best lead actress, for the CBS TV movie David's Mother.