‘Cheers' TV Icon Kirstie Alley Dies at Age 71

The actor had recently learned she had cancer, her family said

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Kirstie Alley, best known for her role as Rebecca Howe in the NBC sitcom “Cheers,” has died at the age of 71, her family said in a statement on Monday.

Her family said she died after a battle with cancer. Alley's manager Donovan Daughtry confirmed the death in an email to The Associated Press.

"We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered," the statement reads. "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."

In her career, Alley won numerous awards, including an Emmy and a Golden Globe. She starred in "Cheers" from 1987 until 1993 after the show's original star, Shelley Long, left the production.

In the 1989 comedy “Look Who's Talking,” which gave her a major career boost, she played the mother of a baby whose inner thoughts were voiced by Bruce Willis. She would also appear in the 1990 sequel “Look Who's Talking Too."

John Travolta, her co-star in both films, paid her tribute in an Instagram post.

"Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had,” Travolta said, along with a photo of Alley. “I love you Kirstie. I know we will see each other again.”

She would play a fictionalized version of herself in the 2005 Showtime series “Fat Actress,” a show that drew comedy from her public and media treatment over her weight gain and loss.

A native of Wichita, Kansas, Alley attended Kansas State University before dropping out and moving to Los Angeles.

Alley's first television appearances were as a game show contestant, on “The Match Game” in 1979 and "Password" in 1980. She made her film debut in 1982's “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan."

Kirstie Alley
Vinnie Zuffante/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
File Photo: American actress Kirstie Alley attends Narconon's 1991 Celebrity Softball Game, held at the Tom Bradley Stadium, in the grounds of Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, California, 28th September 1991.
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