Transcript for Hollywood Reeling From Back-to-Back Deaths of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher
story we're following, the unimaginable heartbreak that has the world reeling tonight, the stunning loss of Hollywood's leading lady, Debbie Reynolds, just one day after the passing of her beloved daughter Carrie fisher. The tributes growing at this hour. Mourners shaken by the eerie chain of events. This picture saying it awe transfixed by her mother in the spotlight. We're learning tonight the family may be planning a public memorial. Here's ABC's Matt Gutman. Reporter: For the vivacious star of "Singin' in the rain," the pain was just too much. Debbie Reynolds, a Hollywood icon, who seemed to radiate sunshine. ??? Good morning, good morning to you ??? Reporter: -- Passed away late Wednesday, barely 24 hours after the death of her daughter Carrie fisher. Reynolds was 84. Reynolds' son and fisher's brother Todd fisher telling ABC news said she suffered a massive stroke at home. But it was grief that killed her. She loved taking care of my sister more than anything, so she gets to do that. And that's what she wanted to do. Reporter: As a child, fisher would watch her mother for hours on end. This photo from 1964 showing a mesmerized Carrie glued to mom's performance in Las Vegas. The two were intensely close yet so different. Fisher and her pricess Leia were plucky rebels. One of her defining moments in that gold bikini strangling jabba the Hutt. Reynolds' moment in that trench coat in "Singin' in the rain" following up with an Oscar nomination for "The unsinkable Molly brown." I think that we all are possibly sinkable and hard to live through many difficult moments. Reporter: Fisher and Reynolds had an antidote to that, physical proximity. They were neighbors. Mommy, mommy, I'm home. Reporter: As seen in "Bright lights" and a shared love of irreverent humor. She's also my mother. Actually she has been more than a mother to me. Not much, but definitely more. Matt Gutman joins us live. Matt, now with both of these high-profile tragedies, any word on memorial plans? Reporter: No details on where or when yet, Tom, but Todd fisher tells us to expect a public component, also he said his mother and his sister loved a good party so expect to celebrate their lives. Matt Gutman reporting from Hollywood tonight. Thank you. Losing a child is, of course, one of life's most stressful heartbreaks but could a broken heart have played a role in Debbie Reynolds' death? Dr. Jen Ashton joins us now with some of the science on that and Dr. Jen, is this a real thing. It is a real condition called broken heart syndrome but this refers to a sudden stunning of the heart muscle in someone without hardening of their arteries usually in response to a severe emotional stress, those people for the most part recover. This is very different than a stroke, but there are some studies that show a higher death rate in parents who have lost children even adult children and that really points to just how devastating physically and emotionally the loss of a child can be. Dr. Jen, thank you. A very special look at this mother/daughter life and legacy on "20/20" tomorrow night at 10:00 eastern.
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