Carrie Fisher, best known for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars movies, suffered a heart attack during a flight from London to Los Angeles on December 23. Today, the audio recording of the pilot’s communication with air traffic control was released. It confirms the medical assistance that was provided in the air as well as advance arrangements the crew made for Fisher’s treatment once the plane landed.
The pilot of United flight 935 made a radio call to air traffic control about Carrie’s condition without specifically stating her name. According to CBS News, he told them, “We have an unresponsive passenger.” The recording, obtained by Reuters, included him stating, “We have some passengers, nurses assisting the passenger,” and “They’re working on her right now.” When asked by air traffic control whether medical personnel would be available upon the flight’s landing, the pilot confirmed that they had arranged for medical personnel to be available. A law enforcement official reported that the reason for Fisher’s medical emergency was cardiac arrest. She was immediately taken to a hospital that was later identified as Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. In an interview on Friday night, her brother Todd advised that details about both her condition and the cause of her heart attack were unknown.
The L.A. Times reports that Carrie’s brother, Todd Fisher, also commented on her ability to survive difficult circumstances.
“She’s obviously a very tough girl who’s survived many things. I encourage everyone to pray for her.”
Although this was her first publicly known heart-related problem, the 60-year-old actress is no stranger to health issues. She has publicly acknowledged mental health issues including bipolar disorder that she had successfully treated with electroshock therapy. Carrie also has spoken of her substance abuse, including cocaine use while working on Star Wars and weight struggles related to body image issues.
In addition to her acting credits, Carrie wrote the semi-autobiographical book, Postcards from the Edge. The story was based in part on her rocky relationship with her mother, legendary actress Debbie Reynolds. (Her father was actor Eddie Fisher.) The book was turned into a film in which Meryl Streep played the role of the daughter (a role for which she received an Oscar nomination) and Shirley MacLaine played the role of the mother.
Fisher recently had another book published. The Princess Diarist is a memoir that is based on her diaries from around the time she worked on Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. She was returning from London promotions of her book when she suffered her heart attack. Among the things revealed in her latest book was Carrie’s real-life affair with co-star Harrison Ford (Han Solo) during the filming of Star Wars.
Harrison and other actors expressed their support of Fisher during her health crisis. Harrison told People, “I am shocked and saddened to hear the news about my dear friend. Our thoughts are with Carrie, her family and friends.” Star Wars co-star Mark Hamill, who has said he was “blissfully unaware” of the affair, tweeted his concern.
as if 2016 couldn't get any worse… sending all our love to @carrieffisher
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) December 23, 2016
Friend and actor William Shatner also tweeted his hopes for her recovery.
All I want for Christmas… ???????? love, Bill pic.twitter.com/wMI5nK8Zx9
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) December 24, 2016
Carrie Fisher appeared in four of the Star Wars movies, the latest of which was The Force Awakens. She is also scheduled to appear in Star Wars: Episode VIII that is set for release in late 2017, as is her only child, 24-year-old Billie Lourd. Billie’s father is talent agent Bryan Lourd. Lourd is also known for her work in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Scream Queens.
[Featured Image by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images]