Kirstie Alley dies aged 71

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Kirstie Alley has died at the age of 71 following a private battle with cancer.

In a joint statement, Alley's children, Lillie Price, 28, and William True Stevenson, 30, announced the news on their late mother's social media pages on Monday evening.

"We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered," they wrote.

"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."

They also expressed gratitude to "the incredible team of doctors and nurses at Moffitt Cancer Center" in Tampa, Florida.

The Hollywood actress and devout Scientologist, who was best known for her roles in Cheers and in the Look Who's Talking films, had not been seen in public for quite some time, with her last known image appearing in a video in early September as she promoted her Cameo profile.

Alley, who grew up Methodist, converted to Scientology in 1979.

She rose to fame in the 1980s with her roles in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and the TV series Cheers. She was also known for the TV shows Veronica's Closet and Scream Queens, 1999 beauty pageant comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous, and appearances on reality shows such as Dancing with the Stars, The Masked Singer and Celebrity Big Brother.

She won one Golden Globe and two Emmy Awards during her career.

Alley adopted True and Lillie during her marriage to actor Parker Stevenson between 1983 and 1997.