The star had been hospitalised at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles with an undisclosed illness and passed away on Monday (06Jun16), according to TMZ.

Saldana famously portrayed the Police Commissioner's wife in 1990s TV comedy The Commish, opposite Michael Chiklis. Her role as Rachel Scali earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in 1994.

Her film credits include 1980's Raging Bull, Brian De Palma's Home Movies, and Robert Zemeckis' comedy I Wanna Hold Your Hand, a fictionalised story set during Beatlemania, when the fan frenzy surrounding The Beatles was at an all-time high.

Saldana also hit headlines in 1982 when overzealous Scottish fan Arthur Richard Jackson stalked the actress and then brutally stabbed her outside her Los Angeles home. She survived the attempted murder, but spent four months in hospital as she recovered.

Saldana subsequently reenacted the nightmare in 1984 TV movie Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story and again in an episode of 1980s police drama Hunter. She also became a victims' rights activist, helping to bring the issue of stalking to the public eye by lobbying for America's 1990 anti-stalking law.

She also documented her traumatic attack in her 1986 memoir, Beyond Survival.

Jackson was imprisoned for almost 14 years. He died of heart failure at a psychiatric hospital in the U.K. in 2004, aged 68.