Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher has died in hospital, days after suffering a heart attack on a transatlantic flight.

The 60-year-old, who became an international screen star and sex symbol when she appeared as Princess Leia in the 1977 sci-fi blockbuster, was taken ill on a flight from London to Los Angeles on December 23.

In a statement released on behalf of Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd, spokesman Simon Halls said: “It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8.55 this morning.

“She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly. Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.”

Fisher was born in Beverly Hills, California in 1956 to star parents: singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds. Her paternal grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants.

Fisher told J., the Jewish News Weekly of Northern California, in 2008 that she frequently attended Friday night services and shared Shabbat meals with Orthodox friends.

Tributes have poured in for the actor, who went on to appear in three Star Wars sequels including 2015’s seventh film in the franchise, The Force Awakens.

Star Trek actor William Shatner tweeted: “I’m deeply saddened to learn of the death of Carrie Fisher. I will miss our banterings. A wonderful talent & light has been extinguished.”

Fisher had appeared to be stable in hospital in California following her medical episode on a United Airlines flight on Friday.

Her mother Debbie Reynolds tweeted on Christmas Day: “Carrie is in stable condition. If there is a change, we will share it. For all her fans & friends. I thank you for your prayers & good wishes.”

Carrie Fisher with her dog Gary as she arrives to the Star Wars: The Force Awakens European Premiere( Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Carrie Fisher with her dog Gary as she arrives to the Star Wars: The Force Awakens European Premiere( Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire