Kirstie Alley Died Of Cancer At 71 & Here's Why Some Are Going After Scientology Over It

She was at the same Scientology level as Tom Cruise.

Senior Editor
Kirstie Alley.

Kirstie Alley.

Cheers star Kirstie Alley died of cancer at the age of 71 on Monday, and while many fans are mourning her, others are ripping the Church of Scientology that played a role in her life for decades.

Alley is best known for her role as Rebecca on the sitcom Cheers, and for major parts in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Look Who’s Talking in the 1980s.

“We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered,” Alley’s children, True and Lillie, said in a statement on her Twitter account Monday.

True and Lillie's statement.True and Lillie's statement.kristiealley | Twitter

They added that she was surrounded by family when she died at a cancer treatment facility.

“As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother.”

Alley had admitted to struggling with a cocaine addiction early in her life, and had credited the Church of Scientology with helping her overcome it when she joined the group in 1979.

According to Rolling Stones, she remained a Scientologist for the rest of her life, and rose through its various levels over the decades to reach OT VIII, the highest tier available, as she admitted to Freewinds. That tier also happens to include the likes of John Travolta and Tom Cruise, two of the other most recognizable Scientologists on the planet.

"Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I've ever had," Travolta wrote in a tribute on Instagram Monday, after her death was announced. "I love you Kirstie. I know we will see each other again."

Scientology’s critics came out swinging after Alley’s death was announced, with some pointing fingers at the organization for its alleged views on cancer.

"One of the promises that Scientology explicitly makes to members (on paper!) is if you reach the upper levels of Scientology you won't get cancer," journalist and commentator Yashar Ali tweeted after Alley's death. "Kirstie Alley and Kelly Preston, two dedicated Scientologists, have both died of cancer in the past two years."

Many jumped into the replies to label Scientology a "cult," while fans of the actress defended her and told Ali that it was "too soon" to bring these kinds of allegations up. Thousands had reacted to his tweet as of Tuesday morning.

The Church of Scientology's website does not explicitly say what Ali alleged about cancer. It does say that Scientologists "seek conventional medical treatment for illnesses and injuries." It adds that followers can also address "any accompanying spiritual trauma" connected to a condition, once they've sought physical treatment from a medical professional.

Former Scientologist-turned-critic Leah Remini has also suggested that high-ranking Scientologists are taught to believe that they're more resistant to illness than others.

Although Ali failed to produce the receipts for his claims about Scientology and cancer, the Church has faced plenty of other controversies and accusations over the years, which would explain why there was so much enthusiasm for jumping on the cancer accusations.

Most recently, Scientology has been roped into two alleged rape cases against Hollywood filmmaker Paul Haggis and That '70s Show actor Danny Masterson. Haggis has alleged that members of the Church set him up, while Masterson has claimed that police and prosecutors are persecuting him because he's a Scientologist.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Critics have ripped Scientology many times over the years for various alleged cases of abuse, including blackmailing, isolating and manipulating its everyday members. The Church has also been accused of manipulating its more famous members, and of protecting others from the law.

Many of these allegations are laid out in the documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, although the Church of Scientology and many of its current members have denied any claims of systemic abuse.

As scientology was founded by founder of dianetics, and fantasy and science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, many outside the Church suggested that members believe people have the souls of long-dead aliens inside of them, a belief which is denied by the Church.

"Kirsty (sic) will be terribly missed," Scientology's verified Twitter account wrote on Monday night. "She was an incredible individual full of love and kindness."

The Twitter account also shot down accusations that Alley should have been "protected from cancer at her level."

"That is not correct," it wrote in a Twitter reply.

Josh Elliott
Senior Editor
Josh Elliott is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media focused on celebrity interviews and is based in Toronto, Ontario.