Debbie Reynolds’ son has concluded that his mother died of “heartache.” Todd Fisher told ABC News that Reynolds collapsed on Wednesday while making funeral arrangements for her daughter, Carrie Fisher, who died one day earlier.
“She was very peaceful and quiet,” Todd said. “It happened very gently.”
Todd said his mother, who was 84, regretted not being able to say goodbye to her daughter. Half an hour after saying she wanted to be with Carrie again, Reynolds collapsed at Todd’s home. She suffered a stroke and was rushed to the hospital. Doctors said nothing could be done to revive the “Singin’ in the Rain” star. Reynolds died a few hours later.
“She loved taking care of my sister more than anything,” Todd, 58, said. “So, she gets to do that and that’s what she wanted to do.”
Reynolds and the “Star Wars” actress always had a rocky relationship, as satirized in the 1990 show-biz comedy “Postcards from the Edge,” adapted from Fisher’s semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. Carrie’s parents divorced when she was young, after her father, singer Eddie Fisher, left Reynolds for Elizabeth Taylor. Fisher was constantly referred to as “Debbie Reynolds’ daughter,” an image complicated by Carrie’s bipolar diagnosis as a teenager.
But as the years progressed, their relationship strengthened. Fisher’s autobiographical writing became a form of therapy, and she spoke generously of her mother’s struggles as a famous parent.
“She’s an immensely powerful woman, and I just admire my mother very much,” Fisher said in an interview with NPR last month. “She also annoys me sometimes when she’s mad at the nurses, but she’s an extraordinary woman. Extraordinary. 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.”