Actress Kirstie Alley sadly passed away this week at the age of 71, and her adult children True and Lillie Parker announced the news on Monday night via social media. According to their statement, Alley died from cancer she was only recently diagnosed with.
“To all our friends, far and wide around the world…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 alongside a photo of Alley. “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.”
The Parker children acknowledged the “incredible team of doctors and nurses” at the Moffit Cancer Center. A follow-up statement from Kirstie Alley’s rep confirmed the actress died of colon cancer.
Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers in both men and women. Although it is slightly more common in men, 1 in every 24 women will be diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer at some point in her life.
According to the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, early-stage colon cancer rarely causes any clear or obvious symptoms and can go undetected. Many of the symptoms can be caused by something other than cancer, like a viral infection, or other gastrointestinal issues. Symptoms of colon cancer include:
- Change in bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation, or stool consistency)
- Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
- Abdominal pain, cramping, bloating or discomfort
- Unexplained weight loss
- Unexplained anemia (iron deficiency)
Alley is best known for her role on the classic ’80s sitcom Cheers, but millennials likely know her (and loved her) in the “Look Who’s Talking” movies, the Olsen twins movie “It Takes Two,” and the cult classic “Drop Dead Gorgeous.” She also starred in “Veronica’s Closet,” “Fat Actress” (2005), “Kirstie,” and “Scream Queens.”
In recent years, Alley—a prominent Scientologist—became a controversial public figure, as she was very politically outspoken on social media. She often shared her support for former President Trump. She also vocally supported the insurrection on the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Alley’s children ended their statement by lauding their 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.”