Debbie Reynolds, Hollywood legend and mother of Carrie Fisher, dead at 84

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Kayleigh Dray
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Just one day after the death of her daughter, Debbie Reynolds has sadly passed away.

The celebrated Hollywood icon, who starred opposite Gene Kelly in hit musical film Singing’ in the Rain, had been rushed to hospital with a suspected stroke shortly after news of Carrie Fisher’s death was made public.

Her son, Todd Fisher, said the stress of his sister's passing had been too much for Reynolds.

He also revealed that, in her last words, she had said she wanted to be with Carrie.

Reynolds had been at her son's house in California - reportedly discussing the arrangements for Fisher's funeral - when she was taken ill.

Suffering from breathing difficulties, she was taken to a nearby hospital, but, tragically, there was nothing they could do; her death was confirmed a few hours later.

It is thought that the award-winning actor had suffered a stroke.

Shortly after her daughter’s death, Reynolds - who had been at the Star Wars star’s side for four days following her severe heart attack - had penned a thank-you post to Fisher’s fans.

“Thank you to everyone who has embraced the gifts and talents of my beloved and amazing daughter,” she wrote.

“I am grateful for your thoughts and prayers that are now guiding her to her next stop.”

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Fisher and Reynolds had fallen out in the past, but were famed for their extremely close bond; in November, Fisher revealed to NPR Radio that she admired her mother more than anyone else.

“(My mother is) an immensely powerful woman,” she said at the time. “There's very few women from her generation who worked like that, who just kept a career going all her life, and raised children, and had horrible relationships, and lost all her money, and got it back again.

“I mean, she's had an amazing life, and she's someone to admire.”

Speaking to the Associated Press news agency about Reynolds’ passing, her son said: “She's now with Carrie and we're all heartbroken.”

Meanwhile celebrities such as Bette Midler, Joan Collins, and Stephen Fry have flooded Twitter to post tributes to the late Hollywood legend.

“This is too hard to comprehend. Beautiful, talented, devoted to her craft, she follows Carrie, dead days ago,” wrote Midler.

Collins, sharing a photo of herself embracing Reynolds, wrote: “Truly heartbroken to hear @DebbieReynolds1 has died. She was a wonderfully warm friend and colleague. Praying for Todd & Billie.”

And Fry wrote: “Deepest sympathy to Billie, Todd & all the family at this new blow. 

“Time to watch Postcards From The Edge and Singin' in the Rain and remember.”

Reynolds, who received a Best Actress gong at the Academy Awards for her role in 1964 musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown, married Eddie Fisher in 1955.

The pair welcomed two children, Carrie and Todd; however, the couple divorced in 1959 after his affair with Elizabeth Taylor was made public knowledge.

She went on to marry - and divorce - twice more, prompting her to announce that she had more luck selecting restaurants than men.

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However, while Taylor may have been her love rival, Reynolds admitted that she later became very good friends with her ex-husband’s mistress.

She told The Huffington Post: “I sent a note to her and she sent a note to me in passing, and then we had dinner together.

“(Elizabeth) was married to Richard Burton by then. I had been remarried at that point. And we just said, ‘Let's call it a day.’ And we got smashed. And we had a great evening, and stayed friends since then.”

A documentary about her relationship with her daughter, titled Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year and is due to be broadcast on HBO in March.


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.