“I was on a plane today and did something I rarely do,” Ted Danson, who played Sam Malone on the classic TV sitcom, told People. “I watched an old episode of ‘Cheers.’ It was the episode where Tom Berenger proposes to Kirstie, who keeps saying no even though she desperately wants to say yes.”
“As I got off the plane, I heard that Kirstie had died,” the 74-year-old added. “I am so sad and so grateful for all the times she made me laugh. I send my love to her children. As they well know, their mother had a heart of gold. I will miss her.”
Danson was joined by fellow “Cheers” alums Rhea Perlman and Kelsey Grammer, who respectively played Carla Tortelli and Dr. Frasier Crane. Grammer told People “grief for a public figure is a private matter,” but did say that he “loved her.”
Perlman said Alley’s “joy of being was boundless.”
“We became friends almost instantly when she joined the cast of ‘Cheers,’” Perlman continued. “She loved kids and my kids loved her, too. We had sleepovers at her house, with treasure hunts that she created. … I’m going to miss her very, very much.”
Alley’s children confirmed Monday on Twitter that she died of cancer that was “only recently discovered.” Her ex-husband Parker Stevenson wrote on Instagram he was “grateful for our years together,” as well as their children “and now grandchildren.”
“I’ve just heard the sad news that Kirstie Alley has died,” wrote Jamie Lee Curtis, her “Scream Queens” co-star, on Instagram. “She was a great comic foil in [‘Scream Queens’] and a beautiful mama bear in her very real life. She helped me buy onesies for my family that year for Christmas.”
Alley previously told ET that she first met Curtis on the set of a game show after moving to Los Angeles. Alley “didn’t have any money” and was completely star-struck by Curtis, who served as a celebrity judge on the panel — but was nice enough to introduce herself.
Alley transitioned from TV actor to recognizable movie star with roles in “Look Who’s Talking” and “Drop Dead Gorgeous.” She was one of the few Hollywood celebrities to publicly support Donald Trump and was an ardent Scientologist.
Denise Richards, her “Drop Dead Gorgeous” co-star, and other Hollywood figures have also posted tributes on Twitter, which can be seen below.