Peter Mayhew, the actor who played the tall and shaggy Chewbacca the Wookiee in the Star Wars films, has died at the age of 74.
Mayhew died at his home in North Texas on Tuesday, according to a family announcement released Thursday on his Twitter account. No cause of death was mentioned. He had undergone spinal surgical procedure final summer to improve his mobility, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Mayhew is survived via his wife, Angie, and three children.
“He was the gentlest of giants,” Star Wars co-star Mark Hamill tweeted. “A big man with an even bigger heart who never failed to make me smile & a loyal friend who I loved dearly-I’m grateful for the memories we shared & I’m a better man for just having known him. Thanks Pete.”
A native of London, the 7-foot-3 Mayhew played Chewbacca, sidekick to Han Solo, in the authentic Star Wars trilogy. He resumed the function in two extra installments, Revenge of the Sith in 2005 and The Force Awakens in 2015.
Mayhew was once a part-time actor working as a clinic orderly when he received the function of Chewbacca. Writer-director George Lucas reportedly cast Mayhew due to the fact his height allowed him to play taller than Darth Vader.
“He put his coronary heart and soul into the position of Chewbacca and it showed in each frame of the films,” said his family’s statement. “But, to him, the ‘Star Wars’ family meant so lots extra to him than a position in a film.”
Chewbacca, once in a while known as the walking carpet, could be dangerous if necessary — however frequently he used to be a lovable companion to the films’ other characters. He was a preferred on the fan conference circuit, and Mayhew spent 30 years traveling the world to share the Star Wars magic.
Mayhew used his fame in support of countless nonprofit groups committed to helping veterans and households and adolescents in need. His Peter Mayhew Foundation used to be devoted to “the alleviation of pain, disease and suffering,” via supporting other charitable organizations.