The British American actor Peter Mayhew who played Wookiee warrior Chewbacca in a series of Star Wars movies has died at the age of 74.
He passed away at home in Texas on 30 April surrounded by his loved ones, his family announced on Thursday.
Hollywood legend Harrison Ford who played Hans Solo in Star Wars and piloted the Millennium Falcon with Chewbacca paid tribute to Mayhew.
Ford said, “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.”
He added, “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.”
Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker who paid tribute to Mayhew and said he was, “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.”
The creator of Star Wars, George Lucas said in a statement, “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.”
Mayhew is survived by his wife and his three children.