Peter Mayhew, the actor best known for his portrayal of Chewbacca in many Star Wars films, has died at the age of 74.
The news was revealed via his official Twitter page earlier today.
Mayhew died April 30 at his home in North Texas surrounded by his family.
“The family of Peter Mayhew, with deep love and sadness, regrets to share the news that Peter has passed away. He left us the evening of April 30, 2019 with his family by his side in his North Texas home.”
The family of Peter Mayhew, with deep love and sadness, regrets to share the news that Peter has passed away. He left us the evening of April 30, 2019 with his family by his side in his North Texas home. pic.twitter.com/YZ5VLyuK0u
— Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) May 2, 2019
The actor played Chewbacca in Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Return of the Jedi(1983) and Revenge of the Sith (2005). He was eventually wheelchair-bound but fought his way back to partake in The Force Awakens (2015).
Mayhew also consulted on The Last Jedi in an attempt to teach his Chewbacca successor Joonas Suotamo.
“Chewbacca is one of the most iconic characters in the history of film, and Peter’s development and portrayal of this beloved Wookie has spread so much joy around the globe,” Suotamo wrote after the announcement of his casting. “Peter’s guidance and kindness have been invaluable gifts which warmed my spirit and prepared me for this journey. I aspire to make Peter proud and bring Star Wars fans the Chewie they know and love.”
Mayhew did some minor acting before trying out for the Star Wars role, during which he was working as a hospital orderly.
A memorial service for friends and family will be held June 29. Fans will be able to pay their respects at a memorial set up at EmpireCon LA in early December.
In lieu of flowers and gifts, the family asks that you make a donation to the Peter Mayhew Foundation so that they may continue his efforts in the community. You can make a donation here.
Our thoughts are with Mayhew’s family and friends during this time.