Peter Mayhew, Actor Behind ‘Star Wars’ Iconic Character Chewbacca, Dies at 74

Written by on May 3, 2019

Fourth Estate Staff

Los Angeles, CA, United States (4E) – Peter Mayhew, the actor who Chewbacca in the ‘Star Wars’ franchise, has passed away at the age of 74, his family confirmed on Thursday.

According to his family, the actor passed away on Tuesday in his home in north Texas. The cause of his death, however, was not disclosed. Prior to his death, Mayhew underwent spinal surgery in July last year to improve his mobility.

Mayhew is best known for his role as the 200-year-old Wookie from the play Kashyyyk and Han Solo’s best friend and Millennium Falcon co-pilot.

The 7-foot-tall London Native played Chewbacca in the original ‘Star Wars’ series, starring alongside Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher. He reprised his role in 2005’s ‘Revenge of the Sith’ and 2015’s ‘The Force Awakens’ and later went on to become the consultant for the latest installment, ‘The Last Jedi’, where he served as mentor for his successor, Joonas Suotamo, NBC News reported.

News of Mayhew’s death brought grief to his fellow cast members. Ford, upon learning of his passing, paid tribute to his co-star in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, where he descried Mayhew as “a kind and gentle man, possessed of great dignity and noble character.”

“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,” Ford said.

Meanwhile, George Lucas remembered Mayhew as a “wonderful man” and the “closest any human being could be to a Wookie: big heart, gentle nature.”

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