World renown actress Kirstie Alley has tragically passed away at the age of 71. Her rep confirmed that the cause of death was colon cancer. Stars and fans alike are reeling in sorrow, with many paying tribute, including some from the cast of Cheers.
Kirstie Alley’s Cause of Death Was Colon Cancer
Kirstie Alley’s colon cancer diagnosis may have come too late to correctly address. Her children, True and Lilly Parker, took to social media to talk about their late mother’s final days.
“We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered,” wrote the Parkers.
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.
We are grateful to the incredible team of doctors and nurses at the Moffitt Cancer Center for their care.Statement from Kirstie Alley’s Children, True and Lilly Parker
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.
We thank you for your love and prayers and ask that you respect our privacy at this difficult time.
Cheers Cast Members Mourn Alley’s Death, Give Statements to People
Kirstie Alley joined the cast of Cheers in 1987, eventually winning an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her role as Rebecca Howe. Fellow cast member Ted Danson played Sam Malone on the TV show, starting 5 years prior to Alley. He recalled how she made him laugh while they were filming years ago, and how it prompted him to rewatch an old episode of Cheers.
In a statement to People, Ted Danson said, “I was on a plane today and did something I rarely do. I watched an old episode of Cheers.”
It was the episode where Tom Berenger proposes to Kirstie, who keeps saying no, even though she desperately wants to say yes,” he continued. “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.Ted Danson’s Statement to People
Cheers cast member Rhea Perlman also gave People a statement about her co-star’s death. Rhea Perlman played Carla Tortelli and Annette Lozupone on the show and was part of the cast from 1982 to 1993.
Kirstie was a unique and wonderful person and friend,” Perlman said. “Her joy of being was boundless. 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.Rhea Perlman’s Statement to People
Kelsey Grammer, who played Dr. Frasier Crane on Cheers from 1984 to 1993, also gave a tribute.
“I always believed grief for a public figure is a private matter,” Grammer told People, “but I will say I loved her.”
Stars and Fans Are Shocked and Saddened by the Abrupt Diagnosis
Other stars who knew Kirstie Alley paid tribute to her on social media. John Travolta posted two photos of her to Instagram, one in which they were embracing and smiling at each other.
“Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had,” wrote Travolta. “I love you Kirstie. I know we will see each other again.”
Valerie Bertinelli posted to Twitter. “Oh Kirstie, Rest in Peace,” she wrote, along with a broken heart and a prayer emoji.
Kirstie Alley’s last two Instagram posts were on September 8 and 21. One post was an announcement that she was starting a Cameo account, and the other promoted the new season of The Masked Singer. Her children used her Instagram and Twitter accounts to post about the news of her death.
While her children’s Instagram post had the comments turned off, fans flooded to her page to mourn her death on older posts. Many expressed shock at the news, as the cancer diagnosis was kept very private. Additionally, colon cancer, while commonly diagnosed, is a silent cancer and, if not discovered early enough, very deadly. One wouldn’t glean that Alley had any health issues by simply perusing through her social media. She kept smiling for the world, up until her death.
RIP Kirstie Alley.