Fans and Celebrities Mourn Shocking Loss of Actress Kirstie Alley

Alley loses short and secret battle with colon cancer at age 71.

She was best known as “lovable loser” Rebecca Howe on the long-running 1980’s/1990’s TV series Cheers, but Kirstie Alley left an indelible mark on show business that spans generations. On Monday, Alley succumbed to a short battle with colon cancer at age 71, her children confirmed on Twitter. 

“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,” share William “True” and Lillie Stevenson, Alley’s adult children with ex-husband Parker Stevenson. 

The actress’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,” added her children. They go on to explain that Alley had only recently discovered her cancer diagnosis, and had been receiving treatment for it in Florida when she passed. 

RELATED: 20 Best Date Night Movies to Watch With Your Partner

Alley became a small-screen star when she got her breakout role on the NBC show Cheers in 1987, starring alongside Ted Danson, Rhea Perlman, and Kelsey Grammar. All three stars made statements to People, gushing over their friend and co-star’s “heart of gold” and “joy of being.”

Danson described Alley as “brilliant” and “hysterically funny,” in her portrayal of Rebecca Howe, a Boston bar manager who seemed to be unlucky in love, and in life.

While the wittiness of the character may have mirrored Alley’s personality, that’s where the similarities ended. Alley was a Golden Globe winner who enjoyed a successful career that spanned decades.

She successfully crossed over from small-screen to big, starring in several blockbuster movies including Look Who’s Talking alongside John Travolta, Star Trek 2, and Summer School. 

Alley also poked fun at her own struggles with weight loss in the 2005 TV series she co-wrote called Fat Actress, and the 2010 reality show Kirstie Alley’s Big Life. 

Travolta was one of many stars who paid tribute to Alley on social media, posting a stunning pic of the late actress in a white dress, posing with a white bird, stating that his relationship with her was “one of the most special I’ve ever had.”

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis, who starred alongside Alley in the TV show Scream Queens, told fans on instagram Alley was “a beautiful mama bear in her very real life. We agreed to disagree about some things but had a mutual respect and connection.”

Selma Blair responded “she was such a dynamite. Sad news indeed. May her memories be a blessing.”

In addition to her children with Parker, who she was married to for 14-years, Alley leaves behind three grandchildren as well as some fur babies, both exotic and domestic. The self-described “animal lunatic” once went on the Ellen show to show off her dozens of lemurs, multiple dogs, cats and chinchillas.

Jené Luciani Sena
Jené Luciani Sena is an accredited journalist and internationally-renowned bestselling author, regularly seen on national TV outlets such as Access Daily, Today and Dr Oz. Touted as one of Woman’s World Magazine’s “Ultimate Experts,” she’s a TEDTalk speaker and a busy Mom of 4. Read more
Filed Under
 •  •  •