Debbie Reynolds: Stars pay tribute to Hollywood stalwart

Tributes have been paid to US actress Debbie Reynolds, who has died aged 84 after a suspected stroke.

“This is too hard to comprehend,” wrote entertainer Bette Midler, who said Reynolds had been “beautiful, talented [and] devoted to her craft.”

Dame Joan Collins said she was “truly heartbroken“, describing Reynolds as “a wonderfully warm friend and colleague”.

Reynolds’ death followed that of her daughter Carrie Fisher, who died two days ago aged 60.

“I can’t imagine what Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds’ family are going through this week,” tweeted chat show host Ellen DeGeneres. “I send all of my love.”

Star Trek’s William Shatner called her “Hollywood Royalty“, adding: “It breaks my heart that she is gone. I’d hoped that my grieving was done for 2016.”

Talk show host Larry King said she was “pure class… talented, beautiful, unsinkable,” while Madonna advised her Twitter followers to “Hug Your mother today! Then Hug your daughter!”

“Debbie went to be with Carrie,” wrote Debra Messing, who played Reynolds’ on-screen daughter in Will and Grace.

“She always worried about her. Carrie left too soon and now they are together again.”

Will and Grace star Sean Hayes added his condolences, saying: “It is beyond astonishing that both @carrieffisher & @DebbieReynolds1 have left this earth. I overwhelmingly adored & admired them both.”

Co-star Eric McCormack added: “The combination of the loss of @carrieffisher & then her mom @DebbieReynolds1 is too much. I’m really at a loss here…”

Veteran comic actress Carol Channing, 95, said called Reynolds “beautiful and generous”.

“It seems like only yesterday she was having lunch here at the house and we were discussing the possibility of working together in a new show,” she added.

Reynolds was also remembered by actor Albert Brooks, who played her on-screen son in 1996 film Mother.

“I can’t believe this happened one day after Carrie,” he tweeted, describing Reynolds as “a legend and my movie mom”.

“There is nothing harder than having to bury a child,” wrote Shatner’s Star Trek co-star George Takei.

“Debbie died of a broken heart, but she’s with her daughter now.”

Others to pay tribute included actress Mia Farrow, who said she hoped Reynolds and Fisher were “somewhere having fun“.

British comedian Stephen Fry, who earlier tweeted that it had been a “crushing blow to lose Carrie Fisher”, offered his “deepest sympathy” to the family at “this new blow”.

Actor Rip Torn said he had been “blessed” to work with Reynolds in her Las Vegas stage show, calling her “generous to a fault”.

The Screen Actors Guild, who gave the Singin’ in the Rain star a lifetime achievement award in 2015, has also paid homage.

“We have lost a unique talent and a national treasure,” said its president, Gabrielle Carteris.

“Coming so close to the death of her daughter, Carrie Fisher, this is truly a double tragedy.”

Candles and flowers have been left on Reynolds’ star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Can you die from a broken heart? By Stephen Evans, BBC News

Some people talk about “broken heart syndrome”, known more formally as stress cardiomyopathy or takotsubo cardiomyopathy. According to the British Heart Foundation, it is a “temporary condition where your heart muscle becomes suddenly weakened or stunned. The left ventricle, one of the heart’s chambers, changes shape.”

It can be brought on by a shock. “About three quarters of people diagnosed with takotsubo cardiomyopathy have experienced significant emotional or physical stress prior to becoming unwell,” the charity says.

This stress might be bereavement but it could be a shock of another kind. There are documented cases of people suffering the condition after being frightened by colleagues pulling a prank, or suffering the stress of speaking to a large group of people. It’s speculated that the sudden release of hormones – in particular, adrenaline – causes the stunning of the heart muscle.

This is different from a heart attack, which is a stopping of the heart because the blood supply is constricted, perhaps by clogged arteries.

Read more here

How does grief cause physical pain?

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