Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew (74) dies

2019-05-03 06:45
 

Cape Town – Star Wars actor Peter Mayhew has died. He was 74.

In a statement shared on Twitter on Friday, the family of Mayhew - who famously starred as Chewbacca alongside Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, the late Carrie Fisher, Oscar Isaac, Daisy Ridley and more – announced his death.

"The family of Peter Mayhew, with deep love and sadness, regrets to share the news that Peter has passed away. He left us on the evening of 30 April, 2019 with his family by his side in his North Texas home."

SEE THE STATEMENT HERE:

Mayhew played the beloved giant Wookiee warrior known as 'Chewie'  by his fans from 1977 through to 1025, BBC reports.

Speaking of his special relationship with the intergalactic fantasy movie saga in the statement, Mayhew's family wrote: "The Star Wars family meant so much more to him than a role in a film.

"The relationships that began then grew into the friends and family that he would love for decades to come."

The statement further provided details of a memorial for the actor.

"There will be a memorial service for friends and family held on 29 June and in early December in Los Angeles there will be a memorial for fans set up with his family in attendance, personal effects and collection at EmpireConLA."

TRIBUTES FROM HIS STAR WARS FAMILY

Stars Wars creator and director George Lucas paid tribute to the actor in a written statement to E! News, writing: "Peter was a wonderful man. He was the closest any human being could be to a Wookiee: big heart, gentle nature…and I learned to always let him win.  He was a good friend and I'm saddened by his passing."

Mark Hamill paid respects on Twitter, writing: "He was the gentlest of giants - A big man with an even bigger heart who never failed to make me smile and a loyal friend who I loved dearly - I'm grateful for the memories we shared and I'm a better man for just having known him. Thanks Pete."

SEE THE TWEET HERE:

Billy Dee Williams tweeted: "Much more than Chewie to me...My heart hurts…I will miss you my dear friend…thanks for the great memories"

SEE THE TWEET HERE:

Mayhew's successor, Joonas Suotamo shared a lengthy statement on Twitter, writing: "Devastated to hear about the passing of a dear friend and mentor. Peter's warm welcome when I came aboard as his double in The Force Awakens meant so much to me."

READ THE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

Harrison Ford also paid tribute to the late actor in a statement to E! News.

READ THE STATEMENT HERE:

"Peter Mayhew was a kind and gentle man, possessed of great dignity and noble character. These aspects of his own personality, plus his wit and grace, he brought to Chewbacca. We were partners in film and friends in life for over 30 years and I loved him. He invested his soul in the character and brought great pleasure to the Star Wars audience.

"Chewbacca was an important part of the success of the films we made together. He knew how important the fans of the franchise were to its continued success and he was devoted to them. I and millions of others will never forget Peter and what he gave us all.  My thoughts are with his dear wife Angie and his children. Rest easy, my dear friend."

The official Star Wars account took to Instagram and shared a statement from Kathleen Kennedy.

SEE THE STATEMENT HERE:

Read more on:    celebrity deaths  |  star wars  |  movies

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