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Star of Cheers Dies of Cancer at 71

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Kirstie Alley, the actress best known for her role as Rebecca Howe on the sitcom “Cheers,” has died, her family said in a statement Monday. She was 71.

“We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered” her children, True and Lillie Parker, said in a statement posted on social media.

“As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother,” the statement continued. They praised Alley’s passion, love and creativity, and thanked the doctors and nurses at Moffitt Medical Center for her care.

In one of her first major roles, Alley appeared in 1982’s “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan,” but she did not return for any subsequent Star Trek films.

She joined the cast of “Cheers” in 1987 after Shelley Long, who played Diane Chambers, left the show following its fifth season. For her role as Rebecca Howe, Alley received four Golden Globe and five Emmy nominations for best actress, winning both in 1991. She remained a regular cast member of “Cheers” until the show’s 11th and final season in 1993.

“I only thank God I didn’t have to wait as long as Ted,” Alley quipped in her Emmy acceptance speech, according to The Associated Press — a dig at her “Cheers” co-star Ted Danson, who was nominated for his role as Sam Malone eight times before finally taking home the Emmy for best actor in a comedy series.

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