Kirstie Alley was privately living with cancer a short time before she died, her children revealed as they announced her death.
On Monday, Alley's two children, True and Lillie Parker, confirmed the actress died at age 71.
In a statement to PEOPLE, True and Lillie said that Alley died on Monday and shared for the first time that she had been diagnosed with cancer "only recently."
"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 said in a statement.
Sharing more about the Cheers star's final moments, Alley's children said, "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."
They went on to praise Alley as an actress, mother and grandmother, writing: "As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother."
The siblings remembered their mother's "zest and passion for life, her children, grandchildren and her many animals, not to mention her eternal joy of creating, were unparalleled and leave us inspired to live life to the fullest just as she did."
They also thanked the "incredible team of doctors and nurses" at the Moffitt Cancer Center.
The statement concluded with True and Lillie thanking Alley's fans, sharing, "We thank you for your love and prayers and ask that you respect our privacy at this difficult time."
The statement was also shared on Alley's Instagram page.
As news of her death circulated, many stars shared tributes for Alley to PEOPLE and on social media.
Reacting to the loss, John Travolta shared a throwback photo of Alley and added another of them smiling at one another.
"Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I've ever had," he said of the late actress. "I love you Kirstie. I know we will see each other again."