(WJW) – Actress Kirstie Alley died Monday at the age of 71.

The American Cancer Society reports that she died of colon cancer. PEOPLE reports Alley’s rep confirmed the news.

Alley’s children announced her death Monday.

To all our friends, far and wide around the world…

We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered.

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

We are grateful to the incredible team of doctors and nurses at the Moffitt Cancer Center for their care.

Our 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.

We thank you for your love and prayers and ask that you respect our privacy at this difficult time.

With love always,

True and Lillie Parker

Colorectal (Colon) Cancer

According to the Cleveland Clinic, Colon cancer develops from polyps (growths) in your colon’s inner lining. The polyps can become cancerous tumors.

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in people in the U.S. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Colon cancer typically affects people ages 50 and older.

What are the symptoms?

You can have colon cancer without having symptoms, according to the Cleveland Clinic.  

The Clinic says common symptoms of colon cancer include:

  • Blood on or in your stool (poop): Talk to a healthcare provider if you notice blood in the toilet after you poop or after wiping, or if your poop looks dark or bright red. It’s important to remember blood in poop doesn’t mean you have colon cancer. Other things — from hemorrhoids to anal tears to eating beets — may change your poop’s appearance. But it’s always better to check with a healthcare provider any time you notice blood in or on your stool.
  • Persistent changes in your bowel habits (how you poop): Talk to a healthcare provider if you have persistent constipation and/or diarrhea, or if you feel as if you still need to poop after going to the bathroom.
  • Abdominal (belly) pain: Talk to a healthcare provider if you have belly pain with no known cause, that doesn’t go away or hurts a lot. Many things may cause belly pain, but it’s always best to check with a healthcare provider if you have unusual or frequent belly pain.
  • Bloated stomach: Like belly pain, there are many things that may make you feel bloated. Talk to a healthcare provider if your bloated belly lasts for more than a week, gets worse or you have other symptoms like vomiting or blood in or on your poop.
  • Unexplained weight loss: This is a noticeable drop in your body weight when you’re not trying to lose weight.
  • Vomiting: Talk to a healthcare provider if you’ve been vomiting periodically for no known reason or if you vomit a lot in 24 hours.
  • Fatigue and feeling short of breath: These are symptoms of anemia. Anemia may be a sign of colon cancer.

What are common colon cancer screening tests?

colonoscopy is the most common screening test for colon cancer. Other tests include:

  • Fecal immunochemical test (FIT): This test detects hidden blood in your poop. Medical pathologists test samples of your poop for blood that you may not see just by looking.
  • Guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT): Like the FIT, this test looks for blood in poop that may not be visible.
  • Fecal DNA test: This test looks for signs of genetic mutations and blood products in your poop.
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy: Healthcare providers use a flexible scope called a sigmoidoscope to see inside your lower colon and rectum.
  • Virtual colonoscopy: A virtual colonoscopy is an X-ray that looks for polyps, tumors and ulcers (sores) in your colon and rectum.