A princess has died and the galaxy is mourning. Carrie Fisher, well known for her landmark role as Princess Leia Organa in the Star Wars saga, passed away today following a massive heart attack she suffured on December 23rd. She was 60 years old.

The child of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, Carrie knew the lavish life of fame, and the pitfalls of celebrity from an early age. Only two years old, she watched as her father left her mother for Elizabeth Taylor. Carrie Fisher knew what it was like to be tabloid fodder long before the dawn of the social media age.

The jump into the family business wasn't an immediate idea for Fisher. Despite her doubt about the trappings of fame, Fisher landed a bit part in Warren Beatty’s 1975 film Shampoo. Playing the daughter of Jack Warden and Lee Grant, Carrie’s character Lorna has a few lines and ends up sleeping with Warren Beatty. Fisher didn’t see this five minute part as the start of her movie career, it seemed like more of an experiment. “Maybe I wanted to see what it felt like to be wanted by Warren Beatty in any capacity at all,” Fisher reminisced in The Princess Diarist.

A career was born and casting calls came her way. Carrie Fisher, even though she thought she didn’t get the part, won her audition to play a princess named Leia in an intergalactic soap opera named Star Wars. Her life would never be the same, and she would forever be famous no matter where she went. When Star Wars was released and the box office success was realized, the young nineteen-year-old celebrity had achieved a lasting fame that neither of her parents could dream of.

Sequels in the popular trilogy would lead to Carrie Fisher being a household name, and forever tied to the role of the Princess of Alderaan and the bun hair style from 1977. The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi, would continue to make Star Wars not just a successful movie franchise, but a pop culture phenomenon that would grow exponentially over the next forty years.

When filming stopped on 1983’s The Return of the Jedi, Fisher continued on with roles in multiple films including most notably The Burbs with Tom Hanks, and When Harry Met Sally with Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan.

Being identified with the Princess Leia character, Fisher had difficulty avoiding that typecasting while seeking parts. Her talent for writing, which she had been using as an outlet since she was twelve, led Fisher to another route of fame in Hollywood, a successful writing career.

Her popular book Postcards from the Edge based loosely on her life with her mother Debbie Reynolds, was adapted for the big screen in 1990 with Fisher writing the screenplay. Directed by Mike Nichols and starring Meryl Streep in the Fisher role with Shirley MacLaine as the Reynolds role, Fisher’s life, with all the difficulties were on public display. Even though the film was a mild hit, Carrie Fisher was in demand for her ability to write. Her career morphed into writer and script doctor.

The 1990’s saw Fisher help polish dialogue and characters for movies such as Steven Spielberg’s Hook, Sister Act, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Lethal Weapon 3, and Episodes I, II, III of the Star Wars saga. Even though she was on call for her writing skills, Fisher's fame was tied to Princess Leia.

For most of the 1990’s and the early 2000’s, when she wasn’t working on polishing scripts or writing books, Fisher continued to work in bit parts in multiple movies and television series. From writing her own part in Scream 3, to appearing in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Sex and the City, Family Guy, and The Big Bang Theory.

Fisher was married to Paul Simon for a brief time in the 1980’s. After they divorced they continued dating until 1991. It was her relationship with Hollywood agent Bryan Lourd that brought Fisher the birth of her daughter Billie Lourd. After her relationship with Lourd ended, she used the experience as the basis for her book The Best Awful.

Carrie Fisher could never escape her biggest role, that of Princess Leia. As the years progressed, battling obstacles that directly affected her health, Fisher continued to be seen as only Princess Leia. Her acceptance and ownership of that role led to her return to Star Wars in 2015, not as Princess Leia but as General Leia leader of the Resistance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The return of Fisher as well as Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill to their original roles in the updated movie set off a media firestorm that brought new fans for Fisher to the already legions of Leia devotees.

Fisher was contracted to appear not only in The Force Awakens but also Episode VIII, and IX of the sprawling space saga. Her memoir of shooting the first Star Wars movie in 1977, The Princess Diarist, brought new revelations from her time in the hair buns and white dress. Using the page as her canvas, she wrote about her affair with Harrison Ford, and her acceptance and love for the character of Princess Leia.

“I’ve spent the lion’s share of my life, starting at nineteen and continuing forty years on jauntily in the present, being as much myself as Princess Leia,” she muses near the end of the book. “I’m careful not to do anything that she might disapprove of.” Fisher talked about the struggle of being this iconic character, accepting that when she walks through an airport someone is bound to shout “Princess”, and she will no doubt respond with a “Yes”, like it is normal.

For years she answered almost any question about her character with honesty. The character which dominated her life, made her a global superstar, and eclipsed the many accomplishments she achieved outside of the Star Wars universe, will be what she is best remembered for.

She poses the question at the end of The Princess Diarist of what she would be if she wasn’t Princess Leia. “I’d be me. You know, Carrie. Just me.” To the princess more famous than any real royalty, the author who shared her life through book and stage, the young actress who showed how cool and bad ass she could be next to her male co-stars, to the woman who was harassed on social media for not looking like a nineteen year old in a bikini at the age of sixty, and to the person who embraced and accepted a role that has meant so much to so many, thank you Carrie Fisher!

When Luke Skywalker returns to Dagobah in The Return of the Jedi he encounters a frail dying Yoda who says as he passes, “Soon, will I rest, forever sleep. Earned it I have.” Rest Princess, the galaxy is in good hands, and you have served it well.

Carrie Fisher is survived by her mother Debbie Reynolds, daughter Billie Lourd, her half sisters Joely and Trisha Fisher, her brother Todd, and her beloved dog Gary Fisher.