actor Peter Mayhew, the original Chewbacca, died Tuesday evening in his home in North Texas, his family announced Thursday. He was 74 years old.
Mayhew was born in London in 1944. At the age of 34, the 7-foot, 3-inch actor relocated to the fictional world of Kashyyk to portray a Wookiee named Chewbacca in the original Star Wars trilogy. He reprised the role in Revenge of the Sith, and again in 2015’s The Force Awakens, in which he shared the suit alongside alongside Joonas Suotamo.
“Chewie transformed me,” Mayhew once said of his iconic character. “The attitude was different. The walk was different. Do the scenes, come back, take the mask off, Peter was back.”
In addition to co-piloting the Millennium Falcon, Mayhew also launched the Peter Mayhew Foundation, which continues to provide funds for the 501st Legion, Wounded Warriors, Make-a-Wish and more. The actor’s family has asked that fans, in lieu of sending gifts or flowers, instead lend their support to the foundation here.
Mayhew is survived by his wife Angie and three children.
See a few tributes from Mayhew’s family, friends and fans below.
He was the gentlest of giants-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 #RIPPeterMayhew #Heartbroken @TheWookieeRoars
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