Heartbreaking news for a generation of fans who grew up with the original Star Wars trilogy, with the announcement today that cast member Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca, has passed away, aged 74.
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The 7ft 3in star’s family confirmed he died on April 30 in his Texas home.
Although his face was never shown on screen, Mayhew’s acting still shone through as the towering Wookie companion of Han Solo, played by Harrison Ford.
‘He put his heart and soul into the role of Chewbacca and it showed in every frame of the films from his knock kneed running, firing his bowcaster from the hip, his bright blue eyes, down to each subtle movement of his head and mouth,’ his family said in a statement.
‘But, to him, the Star Wars family meant so much more to him than a role in the film.’
Mayhew first scored the role that made him famous back in 1977, while he was working as a London hospital attendant.
Although he took centre stage in the original films, he also appeared in a cameo on the 2005 prequel, Revenge of The Sith. He was used in many scenes on the 2015 sequel The Force Awakens, with the role’s more physical aspects played by Joonas Suotamo.
Rest in peace, Peter.