After news of Kirstie Alley’s death was announced by her kids on Monday, December 5, the late actress’ rep is providing more information.
The 71-year-old star was diagnosed with colon cancer prior to her untimely passing, her rep told People on Tuesday, December 6. Alley’s adult children, William True Stevenson, and Lillie Stevenson, revealed on Monday that their mother had recently been receiving treatment at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida.
“We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered,” their statement read. “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. As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother.”
They added: “Our mother’s zest and passion for life, her children, grandchildren and her many animals, not to mention her eternal joy of creating, were unparalleled and leave us inspired to live life to the fullest just as she did.”
After appearing in a series of films in the ‘80s, Alley’s star rose when she joined the cast of Cheers as Rebecca Howe. Her former costars Ted Danson (Sam Malone), Kelsey Grammer (Dr. Frasier Crane) and Rhea Perlman (Carla Tortelli) paid tribute to her on Monday via respective statements to Deadline.
“I was on a plane today and did something I rarely do. I watched an old episode of Cheers,” Danson began. “It was the episode where Tom Berenger proposes to Kirstie, who keeps saying no, even though she desperately wants to say yes. Kirstie was truly brilliant in it. Her ability to play a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown was both moving and hysterically funny. She made me laugh 30 years ago when she shot that scene, and she made me laugh today just as hard. As I got off the plane, I heard that Kirstie had died. I am so sad and so grateful for all the times she made me laugh. I send my love to her children. As they well know, their mother had a heart of gold. I will miss her.”
Grammer kept it brief, telling the outlet: “I always believed grief for a public figure is a private matter, but I will say I loved her.”
“Kirstie was a unique and wonderful person and friend. Her joy of being was boundless,” Perlman added. “We became friends almost instantly when she joined the cast of Cheers. She loved kids and my kids loved her too. We had sleepovers at her house, with treasure hunts that she created. She had massive Halloween and Easter parties and invited the entire crew of the show and their families. She wanted everyone to feel included. She loved her children deeply. I’ve never met anyone remotely like her. I feel so thankful to have known her. I’m going to miss her very, very much.”
Alley was also known for roles in movies Drop Dead Gorgeous, It Takes Two and Look Who’s Talking. John Travolta, who remained close to the actress after making the 1989 comedy and its two sequels, also spoke out on Monday.
“Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had. I love you Kirstie,” he wrote via Instagram. “I know we will see each other again.”
Alley is survived by her two kids, whom she shared with ex-husband Parker Stevenson, and her three grandkids.
Stevenson shared a throwback pic with his ex-wife on Monday, writing, “Dear Kirstie, I am so grateful for our years together, and for the two incredibly beautiful children and now grandchildren that we have. You will be missed. With love, Parker.” The pair were married from 1983 to 1997.