Mira Furlan: Babylon 5 and Lost actress dies at 65

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Furlan moved to the US from Croatia during the Balkans war of the early 1990s

Babylon 5 and Lost actress Mira Furlan has died at the age of 65, her family and management have confirmed.

Furlan played Minbari Ambassador Delenn in the 1990s sci-fi TV drama, Babylon 5, and Danielle Rousseau in the noughties mystery drama, Lost.

Her family told the BBC the Croatian actress died on Wednesday due to complications with West Nile Virus.

"It is with great sadness that I confirm the passing of Mira Furlan" the statement read.

"She was a woman full of kindness, strength and compassion."

It continued: "She died peacefully at her home in Los Angeles, surrounded by her family.

"We will all continue to celebrate her life and legacy, and know she'll always be here with us."

West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes in many countries, but not in the UK, according to the NHS website.

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Babylon 5 creator J Michael Straczynski described his "great sadness", saying: "Our friend and comrade had gone down the road where we cannot reach her."

A message on Furlan's Twitter account, confirmed to be taken from the autobiography she was working on, read: "I look at the stars. It's a clear night and the Milky Way seems so near. That's where I'll be going soon."

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Straczynski said he had "known for some time now that Mira's health was failing".

He continued: "We kept hoping that she would improve. Mira was a good and kind woman, a stunningly talented performer, and a friend to everyone in the cast and crew of Babylon 5, and we are all devastated by the news."

Furlan starred in all five seasons of Babylon 5, from 1994-1998, after which she gave birth to her only son Marko Lav and released an album titled Songs From Movies That Have Never Been Made.

From 2004-2010, she played a scientist stranded on a remote island in the hit mystery drama series Lost.

'Kind of a miracle'

Born in Zagreb, the actress appeared in the film When Father Was Away on Business, which won the coveted Palme d'Or prize at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival. It also received an Oscar nomination for best foreign language film.

She emigrated to the US with her husband, director Goran Gajic, in 1991, at the start of the war in the former Yugoslavia.

"It was completely like starting over, as if someone had taken a big eraser and erased my life," Furlan said in an interview with Daily Dragon Online in 2012.

"It was a strange feeling. But at the same time, we came to New York. I've always loved New York, and I've always thought that it's like living in the world. It's the world, not just one city, but it's everything!"

She added: "We had four suitcases. But then, somehow, there was an agent who wanted to send me - not sign me, but send me just for trial purposes - send me to a couple of auditions. And one of them was Babylon 5. So it was kind of a miracle!

"The more I live here, the more it's clear to me what a miracle it was. I didn't quite understand it in those times."

She also wrote the stage play Until Death Do Us Part, set in 1970s Zagreb.

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