Hollywood is a sadder place with the loss of beloved star Debbie Reynolds, who died Wednesday, just a day after the death of daughter Carrie Fisher. The 84-year-old Reynolds is believed to have suffered a stroke at son Todd Fisher's home while planning her daughter's funeral, the BBC reports. Todd Fisher said the grief and stress of Carrie's death had been too much for his mother and the last thing she said was that "she was very, very sad about losing Carrie and that she would like to be with her again," per the Guardian. Experts say that in extremely stressful events like the death of a spouse or a child, it really is possible to die from a broken heart, with a surge of hormones creating a condition the American Heart Association calls stress-induced cardiomyopathy.
Grief expert David Kessler tells USA Today that dying of a broken heart is not only "absolutely real," he believes it is "extremely underdiagnosed." Kessler, who worked with Fisher several times, says the condition is more often seen among couples who were married for many decades, but Reynolds and her daughter were so close that he "would not be surprised if part of this was broken heart syndrome." Some reactions to Reynolds' death:
- Bette Midler: "This is too hard to comprehend. Beautiful, talented, devoted to her craft, she follows Carrie, dead days ago."
- Debra Messing, Reynolds' "daughter" on Will & Grace: "So heartsick. Debbie went to be with Carrie. It's such a devastating 1,2 punch. She was my "mom" for years & I loved her dearly. A legend."
- Albert Brooks, who played her son in Mother: "Debbie Reynolds, a legend and my movie mom. I can't believe this happened one day after Carrie. My heart goes out to Billie."
- SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris: "We have lost a unique talent and a national treasure. Coming so close to the death of her daughter, Carrie Fisher, this is truly a double tragedy. Their imprint on our culture is profound and they both will live on."
- Co-star Rip Taylor: "I was blessed to work with this remarkable woman for 45, almost 50 years. That makes for a very rare bond and unique relationship. She was generous to a fault, never caring who got the laugh from the audience. I will always love her," he said, per Variety.